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Aboriginal students
Members of the first cohort and their instructors: left to right - back row: Bruce Bailey - Faculty, Qualifying Studies and Student Services, Kwantlen University College, Marilynne Waithman - Director, Student Transitions, Kwantlen University College, Natalie Wood - Coordinator, University Prep, Simon Fraser University, Emaan King - student, Rachel King - student, Corey Dekker - SFU student mentor, Hector Hill - student, Kathryn Antone - student, front row: Michael Hickson - student, Melissa Anderson - student, Bailey Bell - student

SFU-Kwantlen program preps aboriginal students

August 17, 2007

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A program designed to help prepare first nations students to enter university will enter its second year at SFU's Surrey campus this fall, with 18 students enrolled in the joint SFU-Kwantlen University College aboriginal university preparation program.

The program is one of only a few programs in B.C. designed to prepare First Nations and other aboriginal people for higher education, says John McKendry, SFU Surrey's community outreach and engagement program director. The four-month program is tuition-free, with students only paying for course materials. The program is partially funded by a $200,000 grant from the provincial ministry of advanced education, McKendry says.

"The program give students a solid foundation of academic and personal success skills to help them prepare for a full range of post-secondary education options," he says. It includes foundation courses in university-level reading and writing, mathematics, science, and indigenous knowledge in the modern world as well as study skills, managing stress, motivation, wellness, and careers in a global environment. Students are also familiarized with other aspects of the university process, such as dealing with student and counselling services.

"We had a 60 percent completion rate in the first cohort," McKendry says, "which is very good for a program of this nature."

McKendry says the university is hoping to expand the program and perhaps offer it in Kamloops, with the cooperation of the Kamloops Indian band.

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