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    UConn Summer Prevents College From Being a TV Rerun

    Posted February 24, 2016, 2:00 pm by Neal Olderman
    UConn Summer Prevents College From Being a TV Rerun

    That first year of college isn’t always a big hit.

    Sometimes, freshman year feels straight out of a TV rerun and at the University of Connecticut, we’ve seen it all, over and over. So how could things go wrong and what can you do to avoid it? Check out our rerun round-up of freshman year woes - and how Pre-College Summer at UConn for rising high school juniors and seniors could make your freshman year a hit rather than an epic fail.

    1. “It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone.” - Rod Serling, “The Twilight Zone.”

    Imagine this: A first-semester freshman eats Cap’n Crunch for every meal, binges on “Arrested Development” until dawn, and sleeps until mid-afternoon on the day of a 8 a.m. midterm. There aren’t many students who walk through the doors of our university who don’t care about success. However, we see changes in some, especially in the first semester, that can set them on paths that are less than optimal. College is hard to begin with and add to that the learning curve of policing your own healthy habits, embracing freedom, applying time management, mastering challenging academic material, and beating home-sickness and … BAZINGA, we’ve got ourselves a situation.

    Our solution: Pre-College Summer at UConn features peer mentors – undergraduate and graduate students who are role models for how to navigate an independent life and get on top of academics.

    2. “I seek not to know the answers, but to understand the questions.” - Caine (Grasshopper), “Kung Fu.”

    “The first draft of my research paper was due on Friday and it hadn’t been mentioned since the second week of class. I looked in the syllabus and there it was. Why didn’t anybody remind me?” Universities are special places that allow students to grow within the confines of a safe environment; however, with that comes an important student responsibility. Professors are passionate and compassionate, but they aren’t there to organize a student’s schedule, whether there are 100 or 10 students in the course. Students need to learn to prepare based on their own initiative to succeed, opposed to relying on reminders from instructors or parents.

    Our solution: UConn’s Pre-college Summer gives you the chance to experiment with week-long, low-pressure exploratory academic courses taught by UConn professors in a program that is one to four weeks long.

    3. “As senior rooster ‘round here, it’s my duty, and my pleasure, to instruct junior roosters in the ancient art of roostery.” - Foghorn Leghorn, “Looney Tunes.”

    We tell our kids to stay safe, look out for trouble, drive slowly, eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, avoid too much screen time, study, practice, the list goes on. However, the best learning doesn’t start with preaching. The best learning finds its roots in experience. When students come to a realization on their own, they better understand the concepts and how to apply them.

    Our solution: UConn’s Pre-College Summer provides a safe-level of oversight; however our goal is to allow students to experiment, first-hand, within a university environment that includes a fun level of autonomy. Instead of learning from talking heads, we get our students into the environment, using the facility and its resources as a learning tool. Our well-planned curriculum provides students a number of critical thinking opportunities designed to get them thinking about how they can succeed in this new culture.

    [Want more info from the TeenLife Experts? Check out these 3 "soft skills" you'll need to succeed in college.]

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    Neal Olderman

    Neal Olderman

    Neal Olderman is with the University of Connecticut’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. He is responsible for the direction of a variety of educational programs and academic partnerships, including the Pre-College Summer at UConn a non-credit academic experience for rising high school juniors and seniors.