New Britain Freshmen Now Regular Visitors to Campus
CCSU and New Britain High School have created a program that brings students to campus at least three times during their freshman year. The program, now in its second year, appears to be very popular. When a bus problem postponed a planned visit, students were very upset, New Britain educators said.
The goal of the partnership is to get high school freshmen to think about their futures, to be more focused in their studies, and to consider attending college after they graduate, said Paulette Lemma, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
During their first visit, students tour the campus and eat in a dining hall, which proved to be very popular, particularly the ice cream bar. On their second visit, students worked on a high-school research project at Burritt Library, with hands-on help from 10 librarians. And, most recently, they attended a program called “Major Exploration’’ where they met with professors in small groups and learned about selecting a college major and career.
At the same time, the University is conducting research to see if coming to campus in the 9th grade will impact the number of students who ultimately pursue higher education. The freshmen are given pre- and post-visit questionnaires to gauge their interest in college. Currently only about 5 percent of the graduating students from New Britain High enroll at CCSU.
Although the New Britain educators are thrilled to see their students pursue higher education anywhere, Pearce asked, “Why not here? Why pay room and board if you don’t have to?’’
James Mulrooney, chairman of the Biomolecular Sciences Department and a New Britain resident, is passionate about CCSU’s role in breaking the cycle of poverty in New Britain by offering this generation of high schoolers the chance to attend college.
“New Britain is a tiny city and CCSU takes up a big chunk of land here. Some kids have lived here their whole lives and never stepped foot on campus,’’ he said. Because of the University’s growing commitment to the city, “It is going to be hard to live here and not be impacted, in a good way, by the CCSU community,’’ Mulrooney said.
Carl Antonucci, Director of Library Services, said the New Britain High students learned new methods of research and were told they are welcome to use the University’s resources.
“It was a great learning experience for them. They were in awe of the number of books and amazed at our collections,’’ he said.
When he met with a small group of students, Department of Economics Chair Carlos Liard-Muriente was direct. “What’s the plan? What is THE PLAN?’’ he asked the group of six assembled before him. “This is the most important decision you’ll ever make.”