For the first time, McGill Enrolment Services will run a program for high school students in Grades 10 and 11 called the “McGill Summer Academy.” The program will run for two weeks starting July 9, 2017. The Academy will allow students to stay in McGill residences, take courses with graduate students, and participate in organized extracurricular activities aimed at introducing students to the City of Montreal.
University Registrar and Executive Director of Enrolment Services Kathleen Massey said that the main goals of the program are for it to serve as a student recruitment initiative while offering an enriching academic, social, and cultural summer experience for young students.
“Having a lived experience at McGill will help the students decide whether McGill might be a good fit for them down the road,” Massey said. “We’ll also provide them with admission advising and information about the many academic and student life opportunities at McGill while they are here, giving them solid information they can use to develop longer-term academic plans.”
Massey said that the creation of the Academy was prompted by a high demand from prospective students.
“Our student recruiters have been asked by international students and their parents for many years whether McGill has a summer program […],” Massey said. “Many younger students would love the chance to come to McGill during the summer to experience the academic and cultural life of the university and Montreal.”
Interest in the program are prompted by fears students have provided about the unfamiliar experiences that university life presents. According to Grade 10 student Alisa Bressler, one of her main worries about entering university is handling the pressure to feel at home in a new environment.
“I think that a program that offers the experiences that will be presented to us in university early on would be very helpful,” Bressler said. “Particularly, I think spending time in residence would help a lot [with transitioning into university life].”
Enrolment Services began plans for the Academy in 2015. According to Massey, Desautels Master of Business Administration (MBA) student consultants performed market research and developed a sustainable revenue model for the program. The $3,565 cost of enrolment for the summer program covers housing, food, academic instruction, extracurricular programming, supervision, and health insurance.
Representatives from the Department of Political Science and the Integrated Program in Neuroscience (IPN) were enlisted to create the program’s two non-credit courses.
Dr. Joseph Rochford, director of the IPN, was contacted by Enrolment Services after research indicated that neuroscience was a primary topic of interest for potential students. Rochford and a team of graduate students began creating a syllabus, incorporating a variety of topics in the field aimed at providing an introduction to McGill academics.
“The objective here is to sort of treat these high school students as if they were in university,” Rochford said. “It’s going to give them access and experience in terms of what to expect at the university level, how and the kind of content that’s being delivered, and give them the experience exactly of what it’s like to be an undergraduate student at McGill.”
Rochford said that McGill’s standing as one of the leading institutes in neuroscience research provides Summer Academy participants with a unique academic opportunity that will improve enrolment.
“If high school students are interested in pursuing a degree in neuroscience, [the Summer Academy] will really give them the idea that if they come and study here at McGill, they will be getting a world-class education,” Rochford said.
The cultural and social activities will be led by the Academy’s Team Leaders–current McGill students who will also provide supervision and mentorship.
The program will launch in July 2017 and registration will open Feb. 2017.