Among new freshmen at the University of Wisconsin-Richland this fall are a number of students who prepared for college as students in the UW-Richland Precollege Program. Two such students—Alex Miller, Richland Center, and Ivory Suttle, Milwaukee—credit that program with providing them the support they needed.
Back in 2007, Miller and Suttle were in their third year as UW-Richland Precollege students. They joined the Precollege Program the summer after 6th grade and benefited from residential summer weeks on campus and other contacts throughout the years. Today, four years later, they are University of Wisconsin-Richland students, the first in their families aiming for a university degree.
Both young men started their UW-Richland education with support from the UW-Richland Scholarship Program. Miller was awarded a Family Thrift Shop Scholarship and a Mora and Garrison Lincoln Scholarship. Suttle earned a UW-Richland Opportunity Scholarship and Robert Staum Memorial Scholarship.
Financial support was just one way UW-Richland helped paved their way. Goals of the Precollege Program summer week include bringing urban youth from Milwaukee and those from small town and rural southwest Wisconsin together to learn, study, socialize and take part in activities together to engage and prepare them for lifelong learning. The Precollege Program aims to see that students make informed choices about college options and that they have time for reflection about their future.
Did it work?
“It made me want to go to college and showed me that I needed an education to succeed,” Suttle said. “Through the program, I knew the campus, some of the professors and some of the other students in addition to Alex. It feels right here, like home.”
Suttle plans a major in business. He lives at Campus View, UW-Richland student housing and has been active in the campus Black Student Union. With about a month of experience as a college student, he’s noticed some major difference from high school.
“You have a lot more responsibility for your success. You have a syllabus and that has the dates your assignments are due. Teachers don’t babysit you but they do offer help.”
He’s made use of office hours to follow-up with faculty outside of class. Miller said that even though he and Suttle don’t often cross paths this semester, he feels more comfortable on campus because he knows students in addition to those who are local friends.
“The Precollege Program broadened my circle of friends and we’ve stayed in contact via Facebook,” he said.
As for his college experience so far, Miller said, “I’m loving it. There’s three times as much homework and three times as much studying as there was in high school. But I feel relaxed about things.”
Miller is considering a major in communication and theatre arts and is taking a big step in that direction this fall. He’s landed a leading role in the UW-Richland Theatre fall production, On the Razzle, and is busy with rehearsals. He’s also a member of the campus choir.
See the campus website for more information about the UW-Richland Precollege Program (richland.uwc.edu/ce/cummer.asp).