More than 150 high school juniors from the Redlands Unified School District stepped onto the University of Redlands campus last weekend for a first-of-a-kind event dubbed RU Ready. The conference, presented jointly by the U of R and Redlands Unified, offered overnight stays in the residence halls and three days of workshops on various aspects of college readiness.
“For some students, this experience may ultimately lead them to become a Bulldog,” said Kevin Dyerly, vice president of enrollment. “For others, it may be their first college visit. Either way, we hope they left motivated to take steps to be more prepared for college.”
Participants attended the conference for free, thanks to a $500,000 College Ready Grant to the Redlands Unified School District.
Over the course of the Friday-through-Sunday event, the students participated in many different kinds of activities. One workshop helped the students grapple with big-picture questions such as what they wanted in a college experience. Others focused on practical topics such as how to write an application essay or apply for financial aid. Another session focused on science activities, providing a taste of the kind of lab work that could be open to students at the college level.
Rather than tours, a scavenger hunt helped familiarize participants with the U of R grounds. Students explored campus landmarks from the Redlands hedge to the Hunsaker Plaza fountain, and the Armacost Library to Lewis Hall.
Participants also had the opportunity to connect with U of R faculty and administrators, who helped explain the Pathways program created by recent memoranda of understanding between the U of R and local school districts, facilitating and guaranteeing admissions and a $10,000 scholarship for qualified local students. Information was also available on some of U of R’s other unique offerings, such as the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, in which undergraduates craft their own programs of study.
“Throughout the weekend, the students were incredibly engaged and asked thoughtful questions,” said Jamie Groff, senior associate director of admissions. “I think they walked away with many new tools to approach their college search, as well as a lot of newfound comradery with peers from other schools. Thank you to staff members of the Redlands Unified School District, especially Dr. Stephanie Lock, who helped make the event such a success!”
Photos by Frank Perez