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Athens High School sits in The Plains, Ohio. (FILE)

High school workshops draw fledgling Bobcats

Ohio University offers several workshops for high school students that generate a number of enrollees.

Once a prospective student visits Athens, some administrators maintain Ohio University “tends to sell itself.” But students still have to find their way to campus.

That’s, in part, why OU puts on several high school workshops each summer, program coordinators said.

The Scripps College of Communication offers two summer workshops aimed at bringing rising high school seniors to Athens for hands-on learning, while the College of Business puts on a weeklong program designed to let high school students from underrepresented populations experience college.

Those programs can act as an enrollment pipeline for students who may have otherwise not considered OU.

“It’s exposing these students to Ohio University,” Drew McDaniel, director of the School of Media Arts and Studies, said of his school’s workshop. “Most of these students don’t know Ohio University before they come here.”

In its first year, 2014, the media workshop took on 55 high school students. About eight, or roughly 15 percent, of those students ended up at OU the following year.

Workshop Director Karen Riggs said the “vast majority” of participants expressed interest in attending OU.

The journalism workshop has been even more effective, bringing 107 students to campus during the summer of 2014. Robert Stewart, the program’s director, said 20 percent of those students ended up at OU.

The College of Business’ Junior Executive program brings between three and five students to campus each year, according to program Director Beatrice Selotlegeng.

All three programs are taking steps to grow their cohorts, including internet advertising and mailing lists. Karen Riggs, the media workshop’s director, said word-of-mouth advertising and “on the ground” work also goes a long way.

The media workshop hopes to grow to 75 students next year, which would equate to about 11 new students, all else equal.

“We have been trying to grow because we see that affecting the overall enrollment in the school of journalism in a correlated way,” Stewart said. “The bottom line is, we think it’s worth it.”

Seletlogang said the junior executive program sees relatively few participants program to enroll in OU after completing the program because its target students may need more scholarship money than is available.

“Given that a portion of our target population of high school juniors are from inner city schools in Ohio, the overarching goal is to empower them to know that they can go to college and be successful,” Seletlogang said.

Seletlogang added that new scholarship programs for these students are in the works.

While the directors ultimately want program participants to enroll at OU when they’re eligible, Stewart said his program’s goals extend beyond increasing enrollment.

“These are complex decisions everyone has to make,” Stewart said. “I think the workshop can make a difference in somebody deciding where to go.”


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