This week, Youngstown State University is hosting the Summer Honors Institute — a program that brings gifted high school students to the university, introducing them to the YSU college experience as they take noncredit classes across campus.
Amy Cossentino, assistant director of the university scholars program, recruits high school student participants and helps organize classes for the institute.
As enrollment becomes an increasingly important factor in the university’s budget, Cossentino said she feels the summer program could motivate qualified students to enroll at YSU.
“It’s a way for us to showcase what we have to offer to academically talented students, and it’s at no risk to them. So, they can come and experience what it’s like to be at YSU, to learn with a faculty member, to use our facilities — it’s something they can’t get in high school,” she said. “Each year, the more we invest in the students who participate, the more YSU becomes a top choice of institutions that they’ll consider to go to college.”
While it was not initially conceived as a recruitment initiative, Cossentino indicated that the Honors Institute has successfully attracted bright students to the university. More than 40 percent of last year’s participants have already committed to YSU.
Like Cossentino, Sammi Burton, a third year student at YSU and a student leader for the Summer Honors Institute, described the program as an important recruitment effort for the university.
“One of the greatest successes of the program, in my opinion, is that we will see some of the same kids come back the next year to take different classes. That truly speaks wonders about the program itself,” Burton said.
Burton has not only volunteered as a student leader for the Honors Institute, but has also participated in the program when she was in high school. She made positive comment on her personal experiences as a participant.
“I participated in Summer Honors when I was in high school and loved it. It was one of my first experiences at YSU, and I made friends that week that I still talk to today. I remember the excitement I had every day to come to campus, and it helped to prepare and anticipate college as a Penguin,” she said.
Cossentino concluded that the summer program will serve as a beneficial educational experience for high school students.
“It’s a nice way for us to get students to campus, to offer them experiences that they can’t get in high school,” she said. “They are developing and learning what they need to do to put together a successful resume to get into colleges or for scholarships.”