In a program where students spend half their time onsite and half their time completing independent research, I’m able to best prepare for college by creating my own schedule and practicing academic discipline.
After being homeschooled and occasionally having to learn in massive groups, I was dubious about attending my local public school. While it was ranked in the top five high schools in the state, I wasn’t enthusiastic about joining hundreds of students in a cookie-cutter system. I didn’t want to be forced into a box. I didn’t want to be merely another fish in a sea of sharks (also known as standardized testing). I wanted the chance to be an individual. I wanted the freedom to grow, and public school only gave me a limited chance to do so.
The search for the right program was frustrating at times, but we soon found the small and highly-competitive University Scholars Program (USP). The USP offers an extensive selection of AP and honors courses which are available to students regardless of age or grade level, as long as they are academically motivated to succeed. Taking classes with students of all ages has given me the chance to work well in a group, learn from upperclassmen, and tutor younger students. The emphasis on community rather than competition enhances the learning environment, encouraging us to help each other grow.
Once I was accepted into the USP, I never looked back. It's been a blessing to balance both group and independent work, in and out of the classroom. The teachers and staff are personable, and they know every student by name. It’s truly like an extended family. Blended learning enables me to excel academically while also pursuing friendships and interests in ways that are unique to me. My road to college has been a richly personalized experience, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
University Scholars Program - PALCS
Wheaton College, IL