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Scholars Academy launched to offer immersive pre-college experience

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Starting next summer, Monmouth College will offer a special academy to prepare select high school students for their college experience.

An intense, residential, pre-college experience, the Scholars Academy at Monmouth College will be the only program of its kind in Illinois and one of few of its kind in the Midwest.

Held June 16-28, the two-week program will give academically talented rising high school juniors and seniors the opportunity “to try on the life of a college student,” said Monmouth history professor Michelle Damian, the academy’s director.

“This unique academy is ideal for a student who is considering going to college, but who might not know what type of college he or she wants to attend,” said Damian.

Attending the Scholars Academy at Monmouth College will give students a sense of the diverse range of subjects offered at a liberal arts college, which could benefit students who don’t yet know what they want to study in college.

“The academy lets them try out a number of things without them having to make a full-time commitment to a specific discipline,” said Damian.

Students enrolled in the Scholars Academy at Monmouth College will take two discussion-based courses from six subjects: anthropology, biology, chemistry, classics, English and media. Class topics include “Good Eats and Forbidden Flesh: Food’s Role in Shaping Humanity,” “How Life Works,” “Food and Forensics in Chemistry,” “Nature and the Environment in Antiquity,” “Write the Whirlwind: Creative Writers Being Heard” and “From Media Consumer to Media Producer: Audio and Video Production.”

Students will have two classroom sessions in the morning, then return to those classes for more “hands-on, practicum-type experiences in the afternoon,” said Damian. “They’ll have the opportunity to engage in stimulating discussions, learn from knowledgeable professors and raise their learning to a whole new level.”

In addition to an intellectual immersion in a highly personalized learning environment, academy participants will have opportunities to sharpen their leadership skills. Students will engage in discussions and activities focused on leadership and hear from leaders within the College and community. They’ll also participate in leadership activities that will help them build problem-solving skills and self-confidence.

Academy students will live in a Monmouth residence hall, “experiencing college life in all kinds of different ways,” said Damian. “They’ll move beyond high school as they encounter new challenges, meet new friends and step out of their comfort zones.”

Damian said that strong candidates for the Scholars Academy at Monmouth College are “students who are curious, students who are interested in having that immersive experience of living in a dorm and interacting with their peers and with current Monmouth College students, who will act as peer mentors and advisers.”

Information about the Scholars Academy at Monmouth College is available at For more information: or 309-457-2345.