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UMFK announces new admission incentive program partnership with St. John Valley high schools

June 27, 2005

NR05102

The University of Maine at Fort Kent today announced a new admission incentive program, in partnership with the St. John Valley's four high schools, that will better facilitate the transition from high school to college for local students.

The UMFK pre-acceptance program is designed for juniors attending Fort Kent Community High School, Madawaska High School, Van Buren District Secondary School and Wisdom High School in St. Agatha.

Under the partnership, third-year students at each of the high schools identified by their respective guidance counselors as meeting specific criteria set by the university will receive a letter from UMFK indicating that their academic standing makes them ideal candidates for admission to the St. John Valley campus.

Guidelines the students are required to meet include maintaining a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, a ranking in the top 50 percentile of their junior class and a PSAT combined score of 146/240.

In the coming academic year, guidance counselors at each high school will provide a list of junior students meeting the set criteria in February to a UMFK admissions officer, who will in turn visit the school in the following month and hand deliver the letter accompanied by an admission application form.

As an additional incentive under the program, identified students completing the application form will have the $40 application fee waived.

The first to benefit from the program will be area students who completed their junior year of high school this month and will enter their senior year this fall. St. John Valley high school guidance counselors have identified just over 50 students eligible to participate in this first round of the program.

"This new partnership builds on existing collaborative efforts with our local schools. As the Valley's post secondary institution we are committed to encouraging area residents to pursue higher education opportunities. We hope it will ease some of the pressure high school seniors experience today, and at the same time encourage students who are not sure about their future plans to consider going on to college," said UMFK President Richard Cost. "Our experience tells us that they can succeed in higher education and we know it is in their best interest to do so."

Details of the program have been worked out between the UMFK admissions office and St. John Valley high school guidance counselors over the past few months.

"This is an interesting new idea to recognize high school juniors who have done very well in their academics and scored well on the PSATs. It will also help provide extra incentive for the students to maintain their good academic standing as they enter their senior year and prepare to transition to college," said Leeann Marin, director of guidance at Wisdom High School.

The admission incentive program comes less than a year after UMFK and the St. John Valley school districts announced the formation of the St. John Valley Early College Partnership, which is designed to provide Valley high school students with both an early introduction to the college experience and to better prepare them for post-secondary school education opportunities.

A team of education leaders representing UMFK, the Madawaska School Department, MSAD #27 in the Fort Kent area, MSAD #33 in Frenchville/St. Agatha and the St. John Valley Technology Center in Frenchville, are working collaboratively under the partnership.

Specifically, the administrators are looking to identify and develop college courses that would be offered to high school students both physically on the UMFK campus and through distance education technology.

Successfully completed classes would provide students with the required coursework for their high school graduation requirements, as well as college-level credit.

UMFK is also actively involved in the Great Maine Schools Project at Fort Kent Community High School.

That project, funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and in part by the MELMAC Foundation, is a comprehensive five-year project with the ultimate goal of preparing students for success in college, in the work force, and in their communities.

To date, the team has begun implementing new initiatives, which include an advising program at the high school level, new technologies, and an in-depth review of the high school's program of studies.