by Brandon Farmer, Class 8 - 08/15/2013
One of the primary missions of the Robinson Scholars Program is to ensure that all of its high school students are well prepared for college success. Indeed, it is the program’s foundation, and the success of Robinson pre-college programs is critical to fulfilling the mission to prepare first generation eastern Kentucky students for college and beyond.
The Robinson Scholars Program utilizes a series of activities and retreats for high school age students to ensure successful transition into a college environment. One such experience is the College Boot Camp. This particular event invites all Robinson Scholars who are entering their senior year of high school to spend a week at the University of Kentucky and engage in activities that accurately simulate the life of a typical freshman at UK.
During the week, students become familiar with the responsibilities of a college student. Scholars participate in the registration process, using tools designed to simulate class-scheduling at the university. They are also quartered in a campus residence hall and encouraged to learn time management skills for studying, attending class, and leisure.
“I believe the College Boot Camp is an experience every freshman should participate in, not just Robinson Scholars and not just first generation students, either. It gives you a crash course in the college experience,” said Shannon Rogers, incoming freshman from Powell County, “We have to eat, shower, study, go to class, take exams, experience dorm life, and you also get a sneak peak at all UK has to offer.”
During College Boot Camp, students attend class in an actual UK classroom and are given the responsibility of being in attendance and on time. For instance, students attend UK 101 in a brief version of the class which is offered to first semester freshmen at UK. This class covers much of the necessary information that is vital to student success and involvement at the University of Kentucky. UK 101 emphasizes resources at UK that lead to academic success and provides general guidelines to promote a successful transition into campus life and instill confidence in the new students. This course, as well as other mini courses, is instructed by faculy, college scholars, and staff who actively work with students to encourage involvement in the UK community.
“Boot camp taught us two lessons: First, you have to study! It’s much easier to study with your roommate or another classmate,” said Rogers, “The second is that we learned to navigate ourselves around campus.”
One of the important features of Boot Camp is the participation of College Robinson Scholars as counselors, mentors, and instructors. College Scholars enrich the experience by offering their personal experiences as college students with new scholars.
Phillip Barnett, communications major in his sophomore year at UK, taught a mini calculus course during the 2013 Boot Camp.
“Two years ago, I attended the College Boot Camp. This year, I taught a class. Both experiences have helped me greatly on my path to my future career,” said Barnett, “As a student in the program, I gained confidence that I could survive college. As a teacher in the program, I gained the confidence that I will be a great college professor one day.”
While there is a certain level of anxiety for any student entering this new phase as a college student, College Boot Camp allows them to face those fears and develop a sense of confidence as they begin their college careers.
“Honestly, there isn't really a way to fully prepare for college until you've arrived,” said Barnett, ”College Boot Camp did, however, give me an in-depth glimpse at what college is actually like. It was an excellent preparatory experience and is an opportunity that everyone should experience.”