University building pathway to college for rural K-12 students
- The University of Iowa College of Education is collaborating with K-12 schools in a new program to encourage gifted students in rural areas to take rigorous STEM classes and pursue careers in those fields. The program benefits the schools and students and improves the connection for them to the Iowa campus.
- Through its Belin-Blank Center, the college is using funding from the National Science Foundation and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to create the STEM Excellence and Leadership Program, which works with 10 schools throughout the state. The schools receive extra funds to provide special tutorial time for the students, purchase science and technology equipment and bring their students to the UI campus for a tour.
- One middle school principal said participating students think much earlier about college and develop a knowledge about and interest in STEM fields.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a variety of outreach programs through its School of Science, including a week-long program for economically disadvantaged middle school students in which it hopes to inspire “students to be interested in the STEM fields through fun and educational activities, challenges, and projects.” Another program works with middle and high school girls interested in math, and one offers high school students a year-long opportunity to do math research projects with support from mentors who are usually graduate students. A Research Science Institute also offers a free summer science and engineering program where participants do thorough research projects.
Meanwhile, Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, has developed a K-12 STEM program where students from various area schools “design, build and test ideas in an interactive learning environment filled with like-minded peers, college student mentors and Clarkson faculty.”
The University of Illinois has a special program that connects campus researchers with local schools. The University of Michigan College of Education supports local schools in various ways, including sharing information about sports research with athletes and coaches.
City Colleges of Chicago is helping Chicago Public Schools seniors, who must have a job or be accepted into the military or college in order to graduate. The colleges are providing postsecondary counselors to help the students.
When high students don’t have a college nearby, they are less likely to attend, researchers have discovered. A survey by Inside Higher Education found more than half of admissions officials intend to recruit more often from rural schools. Swarthmore College has developed a Small Towns at Swarthmore program and a New York Times article recently highlighted a number of colleges hoping to enroll more students from rural areas.
In some cases, universities work to improve college readiness.Two researchers from the Jobs for the Future program found high schools and colleges can collaborate through dual enrollment, transition courses, college success courses and better communications generally. They worked with three school district-college partnerships in Ohio, Texas and Tennessee.