The University of Iowa is now collaborating with K-12 schools in a new program to help gifted students in rural areas to take STEM classes and pursue careers in those fields. The program not only benefits the schools and students but also improves the connection for them to the University of Iowa.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a variety of outreach programs through STEM schools, including a week-long program for economically disadvantaged middle school students in which it hopes to inspire “students to be interested in the STEM fields through fun and educational activities, challenges, and projects.” Another program works with middle and high school girls interested in math, and one offers high school students a year-long opportunity to do math research projects with support from mentors who are usually graduate students. A Research Science Institute also offers a free summer science and engineering program where participants do thorough research projects.
When high school students don’t have a college nearby, they are less likely to attend, researchers have discovered. A survey by Inside Higher Education found more than half of admissions officials intend to recruit more often from rural schools. Swarthmore College has developed a Small Towns at Swarthmore program and a New York Times article recently highlighted a number of colleges hoping to enroll more students from the country side.
In certain cases, universities work to improve college readiness. According to the Jobs for the Future program, they found that high schools and colleges can collaborate through dual enrollment, transition courses, college success courses and better communication.