Path to higher education
July 30, 2014
By Andrew Stokes, Communications Officer
Corey O’Farrell is looking forward to the next time he can bring busloads of students to Queen’s University. As part of Pathways to Education’s student for a day program, more than 100 high school students from Toronto, Ottawa and Kingston came to campus last fall to experience university life. They toured the university, ate lunch at Leonard Hall, listened to a presentation by an upper-year student about life at Queen’s, and participated in a scavenger hunt activity to better learn the campus and school history.
“For many of these students it’s their first time on a college or university campus,” says Mr. O’Farrell, who works in specialty mentoring at Kingston’s Pathways office. “It was great for them to hear from a student who had just recently gone through the application and admissions process. Getting the chance to come to Queen’s and feel the culture and lifestyle is so important — it changes their perspective so that they think they could do it one day too.”
Mr. O’Farrell is quick to express his gratitude for the work Queen’s does. “Getting support from post-secondary institutions is highly important to us,” he says. “Queen’s has been incredible throughout our relationship. We know that they support our students and we are very grateful.”
Campus visits are just one of the ways that Queen’s is supporting Pathways to Education in Kingston and across the country. When making recruitment trips, admissions representatives give presentations at Pathways centres and hold events for their students. Queen’s also offers a $10,000 scholarship, distributed over the course of four years, to all Pathways graduates who come to study at the university and demonstrate financial need and academic achievment.
Created in 2001 to reduce the high school dropout rate of Toronto’s Regent Park neighborhood, Pathways relies on the four pillars of tutoring, mentoring, financial support and advocacy to achieve results. After reducing Regent Park’s dropout rate from 56 per cent to 12 per cent, Pathways expanded to other cities across Canada. A centre serving Kingston was opened in 2010 and has been administering to the city’s northern neighborhoods ever since.
“First generation students, those who are the first in their family to pursue post-secondary education, are one of the university’s priority recruitment groups right now,” says Lara Therrien Boulos, Admission Co-ordinator, who organizes Queen’s interactions with Pathways. “We want to give these students a chance to visit Queen’s and potentially fall in love. By coming to campus, we want them to realize that a university education is well within their reach.”
Those looking to volunteer with Pathways can find more information on their website.