Brock opens its arms to students in Niagara

If you are a Niagara region high school graduate with the academic qualifications to go to university, Brock University has a place for you.

As part of its commitment to help the region’s post-secondary education rates continue to grow, the University is introducing a barrier-free transition for qualified local students.

The latest advance on this front is a partnership between Brock and Denis Morris Catholic High School (DM) in St. Catharines, which has resulted in an entire Grade 12 class simultaneously earning a high school and a university credit in Kinesiology.

This initiative adds to financial supports already in place for high school grads attending Brock, such as the Niagara Principal’s Scholarships, Brock Scholars Awards and new OSAP funding.

In the DM project last fall, the Grade 12 students attended two classes each week on the Brock campus, giving them a taste of post-secondary learning as well as the growth experience of being at a university.

Jamie Mandigo, Brock’s Vice-Provost for Enrolment Management and International, is also a Kinesiology professor and researcher, and acted as the instructor in this project. He said the Brock-DM partnership benefits everyone.

“At the end of the day, we want all of the students to come to Brock,” he said. “But we also want them to feel comfortable applying to post-secondary education in general, and hopefully this experience helps with that decision.”

DM’s Principal, Danny Di Lorenzo, was equally enthusiastic about the opportunities the course provided for local high school students.   

“It was groundbreaking for our students and was a very good connection between the two levels of learning,” he said. “The course allowed them the opportunity to see that they could succeed.”

Di Lorenzo is hopeful that after getting a taste of university life many of his students will make Brock their first choice this fall.

“Being a Brock graduate myself I always want to open their eyes to what a great school Brock is,” he said. “It should be a first choice for many of our students, and the course allowed them to see what a great program Brock has.”

Each September, Brock takes in about 3,000 first-year students who have just graduated from high school. About 25 per cent of them are from the Niagara region. Brock officials want to increase that level of local participation.

Statistics show that Niagara residents are nearly 15 per cent less likely to obtain a university certificate or degree than the average for the rest of Ontario. Mandigo said Brock’s outreach efforts will help change this pattern.

“Brock is Niagara’s university,” he said. “Education attainment levels are a big priority for us, and we are stepping up our efforts — such as our partnership with Denis Morris — to make university education more accessible.”

To continue the progress, Mandigo has a direct message for all prospective students in the region: “Any Grade 12 grads in Niagara who have the qualifications to get into Brock will get a letter of acceptance.”

“We still want out-of-region students to come here, but it is a priority for Brock to help Niagara improve its education level and human capital. Moving forward, this can only benefit the region as a whole.”

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