Motivated, hard-working juniors at Alta High who are eager to get a jump on college at a tier-one, PAC-12 research institution and who are willing to sacrifice a few summers to do it were encouraged on Friday to apply for Step2theU, a novel program that will give a select cohort of qualifying students a chance to earn early college credit at the University of Utah.
“I can’t stress to you how unique and how rare this opportunity is,” Principal Brian McGill told an auditorium full of interested students. “There is only one other high school in Utah with a formal early-college partnership with the U.” In line with CSD’s mission to prepare all students for the rigors of college and careers, Step2theU is a unique, Canyons Board of Education-approved partnership between Alta and the U.
Hawks seeking to become Utes through the program will submit applications in their junior years. Application forms for the inaugural cohort of an estimated 35 students can be found on Alta’s website and must be submitted to the school’s Counseling Office by February 16, 2017. Each application will be assigned a number for anonymous review by a committee comprised of representatives of Alta and the U.
Grades, academic awards and extracurricular achievements will factor into the reviews, as will the rigor of students’ current coursework (Honors, AP and concurrent enrollment courses). The committee also will be looking for an ability to contribute to and benefit from a culturally and intellectually diverse learning community. “We want students who are ready for the challenge,” McGill said.
Students who are accepted will start taking U. courses taught by U. faculty this summer. Then, in the summer months after high school graduation and before the start of their freshman years, the students will take enough general-education coursework to complete another semester. It’s an in-classroom commitment of three full days a week, said McGill. But consider the benefits:
But those who complete the program will graduate with 30 college credits under their belts and be on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in 2.5 years. The value in tuition of those credits exceeds $10,000, but the cost to Step2theU participants is only $150. In addition, students will have access to U. faculty and researchers, campus sporting and arts events, and peer mentors.
And all credits are transferrable to other institutions of higher learning. “This new partnership with Alta High will allow us to put everything we know about student success into a state-of-the-art, early-college experience,” said Ann Darling, Assistant Vice President of Undergraduate Studies at the U.