The goal of the Pre-College Program is to enhance the academic profiles of underrepresented minority student (URM) by ensuring that:
1. 90-100 eligible students from the Chicagoland area will be identified, selected and recruited:
2. their standardized test scores are competitive (above the nation average for their grade level;
3. they gain a clear and early understanding regarding the expectations of an actual college science and math curriculum; and
4. they have exposure to health care teaching/learning facilities and health care environments.
The program admits high school students (10th-12th grade) with minimum GPA 2.75/4.00. The two major components of the Pre-College Programs are:
1. Test Preparation
2. The Academic Courses for College Credit
Through careful evaluation of the student's transcript and/or the interviewing process, an entering student is assigned to either component, based on individual need.
1. The Test Preparationcomponent is an intensive enrichment program designed to improve participant performance on the PSAT, ACT, and SAT exams and to improve the students writing and oratory skills. Academic refresher courses are held before the fall PSAT and spring SAT and ACT exams (April/May). Participants will spend five weeks of comprehensive study, Monday through Thursday in the classroom. Friday, college representatives from quality undergraduate institutions with excellent track records for producing minority graduates that subsequently go on to medical and other health professional schools are invited in to share information about their schools and the college admissions process in general. Students interview individually and in groups with the college admissions counselors. CAHMCP, with the consent of each student and his or her parent, share grad records and standardized test performance records with these counselors.
Workshops and field trips are alternate Friday activities of the summer session. Students are also given the option of taking a Basic Chemistry Workshop, a very helpful precursor for high school chemistry. Full-length “mock” ACT tests are administered at the beginning and the conclusion of the program. Between pre-and post-testing, each student is expected to improve his/her cumulative exam score by at least 20%.
Two weekends prior to the next fall and spring administrations of the SAT, the students take refresher prep course offered by Stanley Kaplan. Attendance at these sessions is strictly required. Students are also required to take the fall and spring SAT examinations. If they fail to meet these requirements without adequate explanation, they are suspended for the program.
2. Academic Courses: In the summer between the junior and senior year of high school, CAHMCP students enroll in Algebra, Pre-Calculus, Calculus or Chemistry with lab course offered at a 4-year college or university. Student course assignment is determined by performance on a standard math placement instrument administered by the receiving undergraduate school. All credits earn are transferable. In addition, Pre-Senior participants spend one day each week in a biology research project with the guidance of CAHMCP professional or graduate school students. This research experience and the college courses strengthen the academic background in basic math and science and at the same time give exposure to and an understanding of the kind of academic performance expected at the collegiate level. Other activities include Skill Workshop Programs, MODVOPPPP school visits, counseling, personal evaluations and college admissions/financial aid presentations.
During the Chicago Public Schools' spring break, the Pre-College Program participates in a weeklong Tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Program participants travel to various states (2002, Mississippi and Louisiana and 2003, Georgia). They have the opportunity to tour university math and science departments and meet math/science majors and department representatives. (20 students participated in 2002).
Our principal recruiting platform comes from our relationship with the following major secondary school systems: Chicago Public Schools, Archdiocese of Chicago Schools, west and south suburban school districts, and several private schools (University of Chicago Lab, Morgan Park Colloquium, Chicago Latin). The high schools that are our major feeder institutions include: Whitney Young, Kenwood Colloquium, Simon, Morgan Park, Homewood-Flossmoor, St. Ignatius, Thornwood, Oak Park-River Forest, Evanston Township and Thornridge, Rich Central, Marion Catholic.
Approximately 30% of our Pre-College participants are carry-overs from our earlier pipeline program, the Young Scientist Program (YSP).Currently, the Pre-College Program has developed an extensive network of partnerships with numerous community-based organizations: the African-American Leadership Partnership, Ada S. McKinley Educational Services, Passages Alternative Living Program, the Student Financial Outreach Association, and Area Health Education Centers (AHEC), who assist URM students through their educational programming. Other valuable recruitment sources emanate from the educational departments of area churches, among them, Trinity UCC, Pilgrim Baptist Church and several member parishes of the Northern Baptist Convention. These organizations will provide consistent referrals of the kind of academically talented students whom we seek to serve.