Semesters away set students up for success

Alzar School | 18.04.14

photo 3 (1)Why are semester school experiences so valuable for students?  The teenagers that come through Alzar School develop tangible leadership skills that allow them to make a difference in their communities.  They discover much about their character, and forge friendships with other motivated teenagers from across the country and Chile.  And, these experiences set them up for success in college and beyond.

Today, the Alzar School welcomed Teege Metille on campus.  Teege is the Director of Admissions at Northland College, which is a small liberal arts school in northern Wisconsin (see where it is on Google Maps).  Northland has a very strong environmental studies program, and is part of what is called the Eco League of colleges (which also includes Prescott College and Alaska Pacific University, among others).  This collaborative effort allows college students to study at any of the other programs for 3 of their semesters of college, allowing a student to craft a really diverse and varied academic career.  Northland College has outdoor education programs that are similar to the expeditions Alzar School students participate in, and amazing financial aid opportunities for admitted students.  The small community allows students there to develop tight bonds with professors (getting to work side-by-side with them in research projects) and classmates (students live on campus for 3 out of the 4 years).

Teege had heard of the Alzar School from another semester school, the Conserve School, which is also in northern Wisconsin.  He wanted to see the program in action, having also visited Chewonki, Coastal Studies for Girls, and Woolman Semester School.  This was his first visit to Idaho, and he loved the gorgeous landscape and our campus.

The Alzar School administrative team was able to pick Teege’s brain about semester schools and the college admission process.  We asked Teege why universities and colleges were excited about applicants that have attended a semester school.  He noted “What is most exciting for us is is the change that a student goes through during their time at a semester school.  You just see it!  The students can tell you what is different about them because of the experience.”

Teege continued, “Semester school students are not afraid to go away for their education.”  He referenced the fact that over 90% of students stay within 100 miles of home for college, but semester school students have already broken the mold.

On the academic front, Teege’s perspective is that semester school students are more ready for college than their peers.   “They are willing to take it really seriously, and are devoted!”  And socially, “They are students who aren’t going to freak out when they are away for the first time.  Having a roommate that stays up past 10pm won’t phase them.”  The experiences students have at semester schools sets them up to be independent learners who can integrate well into their new communities.

It is always a blast to welcome visitors on campus, but especially fun to share the Alzar School experience with a college admissions director who sees the incredible value in semester school experiences.  Thanks for coming, Teege!