John Tolley, July 10, 2017

For some high school students, the idea of matriculating to a college or university is about as alien as moving to the moon.

Students from disadvantaged and underserved communities frequently find themselves ill-prepared for the pace and pressures of higher education.

A new program at The Ohio State University is looking to change that by giving these students the tools they need to succeed.

The Buckeye Student Leadership Academy, which last month wrapped its first session on the Columbus campus, introduces rising high school seniors to various facets of college life through seminars, group projects and immersion experiences. These high-achieving students, who attend free of charge, largely come from rural and/or minority communities and often will be the first in their family to attend college or university.

?Our goal is to bring Ohioans to the university so they can experience leadership, start to learn about themselves and start to prepare for the admissions process,? said Khadijah Jones, senior assistant director for outreach and recruitment in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, speaking to The Ohio State University News site.

During the four day program, personal workshops on topics such as maneuvering the admissions process, time management and setting goals are held in a real, if truncated, college setting. BSLA attendees live on campus and participate in activities with current Ohio State students.

At the inaugural BSLA session, a talk given by university President Michael V. Drake highlighted the value of positive preparation in creating strong students and citizens.

?It?s wonderful for you to come in as a young person and leave as a young person. But you are a young person with more focus, with more ideas and more experiences. With a strong foundation and a better footing to go into the world and create a life,? said Drake.