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Released August 5, 2002
High school students experience college life at MUW
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- While some high school students used their summer break for fun and relaxation, others decided to earn free college credits and experience campus life at Mississippi University for Women.
Forty-two rising high school seniors recently participated in The W's Pre-College Enrichment Program (PEP), which is designed for scholastically talented young men and women. The program is in its 30th year.
PEP coordinator Brian Anderson said, "PEP participants are in classes with actual college students and are being taught by college professors. It's the real thing."
Thirty courses were offered including English composition, college algebra, speech communication, statistics, clay arts and intermediate French.
"All of these credits are transferable if they decide not to go to here. We hope they will come here," Anderson added.
In addition to obtaining up to nine hours of college credits, students received full-tuition/room and board scholarship (books not included) for the summer term and access to all regular campus activities and amenities. The group took field trips to the Russian exhibit in Memphis and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery, Ala.
"This is a top-flight recruitment opportunity not only to get a bunch of students, but get a bunch of bright students."
Participants must have a 25 or above on the ACT or 1130 or above on the SAT and a letter of recommendation from their high school guidance counselor.
Several of the students admitted that going off to college requires self-discipline.
Wesley Byas of Columbus said, "You have to show a lot more initiative. You're pretty much on your own here."
Columbian Meagan Mahoney added, "I was not expecting the instructors to lecture so much. The high school teachers tend to baby you."
Elizabeth Rogers of Tupelo said PEP has given her a more realistic view of college. "I realize that it's a lot of work."
Tim Stout of Gulfport said, "I have learned to be more responsible for myself and planning my daily schedule."
Kelly Honsinger of Carriere decided to follow in her mother's footsteps. In 1973, Carol Honsinger attended PEP and later graduated from MUW in 1977.
"I always knew I wanted to go to The W," said Kelly Honsinger, who said she would compare PEP notes with her mother when she returned home. She plans to attend The W after she graduates from Pearl River Central High School.
Being away from home and having roommates were major adjustments for some of the students.
"The dorm living is the biggest adjustment to make," Honsinger said. "I have a little sister, but we have separate rooms."
Misty Osbourn of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., said, "Being away from home so long has been tough. It would have been difficult during the school year."
On the other hand, being away from home was just part of the experience for Judith Pound of New York.
"I found out about PEP online. I typed in free summer programs. I like to travel."
Despite the adjustments, the students agreed that PEP is a confidence booster and has calmed their fears about college.
Osbourn said, "I think we have the upper-hand having the actual college life experience. We get that and others don't."
For more information about PEP, contact the Office of Admissions toll-free at 1-877-462-8439, (662) 329-7106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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