University of Delaware

Gaining an edge

High school students preview college life during summer Edge program


12:34 p.m., July 25, 2013--In the middle of summer, James Smith Hall buzzes with activity.

Students come and go to classes. Others chat and laugh in the building lounge or their elaborately decorated dorm rooms. However, these students are not exactly old enough to be attending college just yet.

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Every summer, the University of Delaware Edge pre-college program welcomes rising high school juniors and seniors from around the country to take college classes, experience life in residence halls and build relationships away from home. 

The pre-college program, which is nearly 30 years old, was re-launched as the Edge program in 2012. 

“The main goal is to prepare students not only for the college application process, but how to be an effective member of the college community once they become freshmen,” said Kevin Liedel, Edge coordinator at the UD Honors Program. “We’re hoping that they leave the program fully armed with the right kind of knowledge and expertise to pursue their academic interests.”

This year, the Edge program welcomes 76 students — hailing from a variety of states including Delaware, Massachusetts, Kentucky, California and Washington — who will live on Laird Campus from July 6-Aug. 10 to experience college life at an East Coast classic.

“The Edge program serves as a recruiting tool for a very diverse population of students, exposing them to all the benefits and resources of UD,” said Liedel. “In effect, raising awareness of UD in a population that otherwise wouldn’t be considering it in their University options.” 

Edge students can gain up to seven fully accredited college credits by choosing any combination of designated Edge core courses — college-level classes aimed at high school students and taught by UD faculty — or courses offered through UD’s second Summer Session. 

This year, the program features a new workshop and capstone element in addition to traditional college-level courses. The Edge Scholar Workshop series, offered twice a week and designed to arm students with “University know-how,” allows students to acquire knowledge from various UD departments. The series includes workshops with representatives from Morris Library, the Enrichment program, Career Services Center and the Office of Admissions

Throughout the course of the program, Edge students document their experiences with the workshops via an individual Tumblr journal. At the end of the five-week session, students work with pre-assigned groups to create and share a Prezi presentation. 

Mental edge

In addition to these classes, program participants will gain an insider’s perspective on college life from the Edge staff, composed of current UD students learning valuable skills themselves.

“It’s definitely good leadership experience,” said Eric Szot, a senior biology major active in Residence Life. “It’s experience working with a different body of people, working on a team and as part of a staff.”

Through many opportunities for both academic and social growth, the Edge program equips high school students to embark on their next phase of life. Heather Conrad, a St. Marks High School senior, said she looks forward to the mental edge she will take away from this program.

“If I get good grades here, I know that I will be able to handle college classes later on,” she said.

Visit the official University of Delaware Pinterest page to see some of the creative decorative ideas from this year’s Edge students on the Rockin’ Rooms board. 

Article by Kelley Bregenzer and Laura Hepp

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