TALH offers advanced academic and social learning
In an age where education is so vital in ensuring a successful future, the Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities at Lamar University offers an early college program to sophomores who are eager to advance to college-level learning. The program allows junior- and senior-level students to participate in college learning by living on campus in residence halls while taking college-level courses. This provides not only advanced learning, but earns the students college credits.
The courses taken by Academy participants must be accepted as transferable college hours by all state universities, and are generally accepted by many private universities such as Rice and Baylor. Therefore, when the student graduates from the Academy, they will have earned 60 credit hours of their degree plan.
“I wasn’t feeling challenged at my Austin high school and began searching the web for in-state early college programs that could help advance my studies,” said sixteen-year-old Amber Randolph.
Junior Statesmen of America and Futurism are two programs offered to Academy students to discuss issues that are prevalent in today’s society, identify topics that may be significant in the future, and keep them informed about current political subjects and procedures. Two additional opportunities available to students to broaden their social experiences are the yearbook project and the annual prom. “Passages” is the student yearbook, open to all participants, that documents activities and accomplishments of the teens through the year. It includes photos of the annual prom which is organized by a student committee and volunteers.
“If I were back home I probably wouldn’t even go to prom, but I plan to go this year with all my friends and have a lot of fun,” said seventeen-year-old Emmie Knobloch from Bowie.
The close knit community of students teaches them to rely on each other and be supportive of one another and the friendships they make can result in lifelong associations. Both Randolph and Knobloch agree that perhaps the most special part of the program is the incredible community environment in which they live. Randolph said, “To be able to attend college at this age and have such a huge support system is amazing.”
Students enrolled in this program will also have the opportunity to expand their cultural experiences as they attend musicals, ballets and plays at local theaters. They have a full list of activities available to them which they schedule themselves. Scott Stevenson, admissions director for the program, believes the social and cultural encouragement these students receive may be part of the reason they display such success after their graduation. Academy students also have access to an advanced computer lab that allows them to work with sophisticated technology and software that can give them academic advantages.
Another benefit that both the students and the faculty love about the program is the student to teacher ratio at Lamar. The 54 students enrolled in the program enjoy the smaller class sizes because it is an advantage for students who need more personal instruction from professors. The class sizes allow for more individual instruction and tutorial for the students and more personal interaction with the faculty.
The Academy will host a preview day Saturday, February 16, on the Lamar campus. Activities begin with pre-registration at 9:30 a.m. on the eighth floor of the Mary and John Gray Library. The event lasts from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Lunch is available in the Lamar dining hall for $8 per person. It will conclude with a question/answer panel for the students.