Seventy-one high school students participating in the Summer College Preview Program (SCPP) recently completed the four-week preparatory program at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.
Now in its 8th year, the program continues to grow, this year welcoming the largest number of students to date, including 48 percent Qatari students.
SCPP introduces students to the programs offered at Carnegie Mellon Qatar; biological sciences, business administration, computer science, computational biology and information systems, through interactive lab-based projects that provide hands-on experience of the disciplines.
The university brings together high caliber educators from across the world to mentor students throughout the program. This year, the students were led by 14 professors from international high schools and universities. The professors guided students through intensive college-level courses to help prepare them for the admissions process to American universities as well as tracking the students’ progress throughout the program.
Brian Kell, a fifth-year doctorate student at Carnegie Mellon’s home campus in Pittsburgh has been teaching calculus since 2010.
“What keeps us coming back is the feeling of satisfaction we get from SCPP. We are doing something worthwhile. There is a sense of fulfillment in seeing such progress in the students in four weeks,” Kell said.
He added: “What we need to keep in mind is that it is the holidays and there are a number of other activities that these young people could be doing, but they commit their time and energy to pursuing education.”
A key feature of applications to American universities is the requirement to take standardized exams that are designed to assess academic readiness for college. SCPP offers Kaplan courses to help students prepare for ACT or SAT tests and improve their standardized test scores.
Carnegie Mellon Qatar staff, students and SCPP alum served at peer tutors and counselors, helping students with coursework, special projects and answering questions about life at Education City.
Insight into life at university is an important element of the program. Peer tutors organized various activities around campus to help students experience life as a Carnegie Mellon Qatar student.
Amna Al Sharif, a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon Qatar and a SCPP alum, said: "Participating in the SCPP gave me a glimpse of what university is like for students. My experience has helped me grow as a person and has encouraged me to think about my future career. It enabled me to understand the hard work that is needed to succeed at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.”
Since its inception in 2007, the SCPP has continued to grow. Damian Dourado, manager of pre-college programs said: “SCPP has evolved through the years, each year we further develop the program to ensure we are strengthening the academic profiles of the students we work with. It is amazing to see their growth and development during the program and beyond. We hope that exposing them to our amazing academic majors, cutting edge technology, award winning professors and CMU rigor will guide their bright futures at university.
Dourado added: “In the past three years we have increased our efforts in community building amongst the SCPP students. We feel it is important for students to understand that learning takes place in and outside the classroom.”
The growing interest in Carnegie Mellon’s programs is a testament to the university’s community outreach events. As part of this offering, SCPP is one of Carnegie Mellon Qatar’s most impactful outreach programs, with approximately 25 percent of participants enrolling at Carnegie Mellon Qatar after completing the program.
The 71 students in the program represented 27 schools across Qatar.
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