Kickstart University! An Academic Boot Camp for University-Bound and Returning Students | Summer 2019 - Session 1 - July 8-12, 9 AM - 1 PM
Mind the gap. According to recent studies and reports, there is an increasing disparity between high school- and college-level materials and skills expectations. This “expectations gap” – wherein professors expect students to rely on and demonstrate academic skills that are largely underdeveloped and rarely explicitly taught – pertains to skills in reading, writing, and research. It's not surprising, then, that students find themselves unprepared academically, even several years into college coursework. This intensive week-long course will prepare students for college-level work by introducing them to the essential skills needed to excel academically. See the course syllabus below for details.
Who would benefit from this course? Anyone preparing for academic work at the university level – including university bound juniors & seniors in high school, returning college students, and non-traditional students – will benefit from this course.
What will I learn? In this course, students will learn the skills necessary for successfully completing academic work, from general education courses to senior seminars. Students will learn how to manage academic life, gain and demonstrate knowledge, successfully navigate the writing process, research effectively, and explore academic interests successfully.
DAY 1. THE SERIOUS STUDENT
Academic success at the university level demands immense accountability. Students must learn to manage several different classes on their own, without the kind of support from parents, teachers, and counselors to which they are accustomed, while confronting big personal, social, and academic changes. New, more rigorous academic expectations, to which most students have not been exposed, often lead to frustration and self-doubt. Academic excellence is, however, not an inborn trait, but a quality or characteristic that is cultivated through practice. To paraphrase the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, virtues and vices are matters of habit. Anyone can become an excellent student by making the habits of excellent students their own. It is not magic. It requires discipline, practice, and explicit instruction in the skills and strategies required at the university level. Day 1 will prepare students for academic excellence by focusing on the essential non-cognitive academic skills, including mindset, behavior, and organization, as well as how to take notes and study effectively.
DAY 2. HOW TO READ LIKE A PROFESSOR
According to a study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, “[e]ven the strongest, most experienced readers making the transition from high school to college have not learned what they need to know and do to make sense of texts in the context of professional and academic scholarship — to say nothing about readers who are either not as strong or as experienced.” Reading comprehension and mastery of college-level texts require different skills and strategies than those used in high school. Even further, research now suggests that digital technologies are eroding deep reading skills, thereby demanding more explicit instruction in critical reading skills. Day 2 prepares students for deep reading at the college level by exposing students to the types of college-level reading materials they will encounter across the curriculum; explicitly teaching the essential skills and strategies that professors expect students to demonstrate (e.g., critical analysis, evaluation); and providing resources to aid in the employment of those skills and strategies in their courses.
DAY 3. HOW TO WRITE RIGHT FROM THE START
In What Is College-Level Writing?, contributors examine the expectations gap between high school- and college-level writing abilities and skills and find that the ever-increasing difference between the two put university students at a disadvantage, especially since writing is the primary way in which students are evaluated at the university level. In contrast to high school assignments, college writing assignments ask students to analyze, evaluate, and develop arguments. College-level writing is less formulaic, more complex, more thesis-driven, and requires critical thinking skills. Days 3 and 4 will introduce students to the kinds of higher-level cognitive skills that they will be expected to demonstrate through writing by teaching students the entire writing process, which includes essential pre-writing, writing, and editing strategies. Day 3 focuses attention on the pre-writing process and includes understanding different types of writing assignments and pre-writing strategies – e.g., brainstorming, note taking, conceptual organization, and drafting – that aid students in the generation of a solid draft.
DAY 4. HOW TO RIGHT YOUR WRITING
Good writing is the result of re-writing and revising a solid draft. An overwhelming number of students tend to skip this essential stage of the writing process and turn in their drafts, which do not tend to demonstrate the critical thinking required by the assignment. Day 4 focuses attention on the formal writing skills and strategies that enable students to transform a draft into sophisticated academic prose. Students will learn how to analyze and revise their writing in order to craft tightly organized, thesis-driven essays with solid introductions, topic and transitional sentences, and coherent conceptual development. Moreover, students will develop an image of their own ideal reader in order to structure and guide the revision process. Finally, students will learn how to edit their own writing line-by-line, focusing on sentence structure, overall clarity, and personal style, as well as proper formatting according to different disciplinary standards.
DAY 5. HOW TO RESEARCH AND EXPLORE SCHOLARLY AND NON-SCHOLARLY SOURCES
When professors assign a project that requires research, they expect students to locate different types of academically legitimate sources appropriate to the assignment. Fortunately, our brave new digital world provides all the information you could ever hope to locate right at your fingertips. The downside, however, is at least twofold. The first is information overload. A quick internet search can return millions of hits. How do you know what to read? The second is reliability. Information technology has not only revolutionized research by democratizing access, but also by democratizing production – anyone can create information online. How do you know if the resource you have found is legitimate? Answering these questions requires training in contemporary information literacy skills. Day 5 will teach students how to locate and evaluate scholarly resources quickly and effectively.
Why take this course? As returning university students already know, the skills detailed above are consistently expected, but are very rarely explicitly taught in the classroom. Unfortunately, students are left to figure it out on their own. Kickstart University! was created to address the needs of new university students and is based on current research and the experiences of S. K. Keltner, Ph.D. and Samuel J. Julian, Ph.D., who together have worked with many thousands of university students on critical reading, thinking, and writing skills in multiple college settings.
How can I register? Register at WriteBrainEd.Org. Courses are $495.
Where will the camp be held? Camps will be held at the Virginia-Highland Church at 743 Virginia Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, Room 311.
For more information, visit WriteBrainEd.Com or contact us at email@example.com.