This spring, things seemed to come to an end, especially for high schoolers who were just beginning their search college journey. There were no SAT, ACT or even college tours for some students. Everything went online, which was difficult for some people in the Philadelphia area who lacked internet or computer access. The University of Pennsylvania administrators want to help those rising seniors who have lost out on experiences because of the Coronavirus.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Penn will be offering a free-four week virtual summer academy for up to 2,500 seniors in the city’s district and charter high schools. It will include college and career preparation as well as academic enrichment.

For students who cannot commit to three hours a day of instruction, there is a more time flexible option. Penn will also offer a free “how to apply to college” course that students can take on their own time. That course is open to all 14,000 public school seniors in the Philly area.

About 600 students have signed up for the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. four-week program and 400 have signed up for the self-paced course. These students are mainly from the more competitive high schools and Penn officials say they want to draw in students from all of the high schools.

There are no fees and there are no GPA or test score requirements for either course.

“Every single student in the city has talents that we know it will be our privilege to nurture,” said Valarie E. Swain-Cade McCoullum, Penn’s vice provost for student engagement.

McCoullum said that there are not very many applicants from neighborhood schools, which is an important issue for her. She said that there could be other programs that students are involved in, since there are eight others, or it could be the lack of internet and computers.



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