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Oskayak students prepare for success

For one group of Oskayak High School students, the typically nerve-wracking first day of university will be an easy transition.

Seven high-achieving Grade 12 students from the Saskatoon school were given a chance to enroll in the College of Arts & Science’s interdisciplinary “Strategies for Academic Success” course this spring.

Over 10 weeks, they’ve been learning the skills they’ll need to succeed in university and growing comfortable with the campus, all while earning dual credit for high school and university.

“It’s really prepared me for coming here in the fall,” said Taylor Daniels, one of the students. “At first I was kind of nervous, but getting a feel for the university, being here every week, has brought up my confidence.”

The course has been offered to arts and science and high school students for three years, but this spring’s Oskayak students are the first from their school to enroll, and the first high schoolers to take it on campus. A partnership with Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools and sponsorship from PotashCorp made the pilot project possible.

Having the students on campus goes a long way towards giving them an “authentic university experience,” said Sheryl Prouse, instructor of the course and director of student advising for the College of Arts & Science. The students have attended campus lectures, toured facilities and learned about other U of S colleges from up close.

“The on-campus format allowed us to attach experiential learning to the theoretical pieces they were learning,” said Prouse.

And while the workload was occasionally daunting, student Tyson Brittain said the course opened his eyes to all the possibilities of university life. “You can actually take classes on things you enjoy and you want to do.”

Prouse said the college hopes to continue expanding the availability of university preparation courses. In the fall, students in the Aboriginal Student Achievement Program will be offered a “Studying in Science” course to help prepare them for science-focused academic paths.