Students get taste of life at UPEI

Dave Stewart
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Dave Cormier, enrolment services at UPEI, helps Amelia Hamelin, a Grade 12 student from Montague Regional High School, with finding her way around campus and what classes she might be interested in sitting in on.

While many students across P.E.I. are enjoying the week off, Amelia Hamelin of Caledonia couldn’t think of a better way to spend her day than in class.

The 17-year-old student from Montague Regional High School was one of about 50 students on Tuesday getting a small taste of what life is like in university.

UPEI invited high school students to attend its classes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hamelin realizes the first year of university can be overwhelming for high school graduates.

“I’m here today because I want to get a feel for what the classes are like and what the campus is like, too,’’ Hamelin said.

Not only did she get a taste of what life is going to be like, she jumped right in, taking in a third-year England history course.

Dave Cormier, who works in enrolment services at UPEI, said this program is merely one piece of the puzzle when it comes to helping students adjust to the university experience.

“We have to do everything we can, as far as I’m concerned, to get them prepared,’’ Cormier said, noting the first two weeks of a freshman year are huge. “If you fail out in the first couple of weeks you’re going to have a hard time coming back from that. It’s possible but it takes a long time.’’

Adjustment can be something many would take for granted like where the buildings are and finding classes. For others it’s about getting into the right mindset, thinking like a university student and getting used to the type of content taught in those classes.

“We have some students who do well here but we have some students who really struggle in the first couple of weeks and some of it has to do with (the fact that) they’re leaving an environment where things are a lot more structured and they’re expected to take on a lot more responsibility here. We’re trying to give them pieces of that and help them with the right mindset.’’

The one concern Cormier has is initiatives such as the one Tuesday will leave some participants with the impression they are ready for university.

“Depending on the personality some people are more prepared for that avalanche than others. But we’re going to follow up with.’’

Cormier says UPEI is talking to the English Language School Board about creating a course for high schools that helps prepare students for university.

Cormier acknowledges that some of the students who participated on Tuesday won’t end up going to UPEI.

“We have a responsibility to every single student. These students (at UPEI on Tuesday) aren’t UPEI students, they are Island students who are coming to experience a university and if that encourages them to come (to UPEI next year) we win and if they go somewhere else, that’s no loss to us.’’

Organizations: Montague Regional High School, English Language School Board

Geographic location: P.E.I., England

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Recent comments

  • jimmy
    March 20, 2014 - 15:00

    Go to college or out west. Do not waste your time at university unless you are one of the top students... they see you as nothung more than money..... explains the fees on everything, gotta pay six figure salaries to tenured profs on sabbatical.

  • declan
    March 20, 2014 - 11:58

    They should also offer them a taste of post-UPEI life..... massive debt and no job prospects.

    • Successful grad
      March 20, 2014 - 13:51

      I am sorry that you haven't been able to find a job. I've had great success since graduating from UPEI. I also loved my time there! In my mind, UPEI did what it was supposed to do, which was to educate me and you. The rest was up to us. I did what I had to to get into my field of study. What did you do? Did you move to where the jobs are? It is not UPEI's fault if they are not here on PEI.