One Hundred Adult Learners to Experience College for a Day

PHILADELPHIA, April. 05, 2010 —Community College of Philadelphia will host 100 adult learners on Wednesday, April 7 in a first-of-its-kind, city program that will allow them to attend classes and hear about academic programs, admission requirements and financial aid.

The day will start at 9:30 a.m. in the College’s Great Hall on the second floor of the Winnet Building, on the west side of 17th Street, between Callowhill and Spring Garden streets.

College for a Day is a pilot program that the city hopes to reduplicate on a broader scale. Participants in this invitation-only event were drawn from the College’s Division of Adult and Community Education, the Center for Literacy, the YMCA, Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Philadelphia Youth Network, Graduate! Philadelphia and from the Nationalities Services Center.

These potential college students are more likely to have a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) than a high school diploma. Those who did graduate from high school did so several years ago. Some are immigrants still learning to speak the language of their new country. Community College of Philadelphia—with its open-door policy, affordable tuition, variety of program offerings and flexible class schedules—is the perfect starting point for this diverse group.

It is the latest in a series of College initiatives designed to support Mayor Michael Nutter’s education goals, which include doubling the number of Philadelphians with college degrees and encouraging more people to re-enroll and complete their degrees.

“A college degree is a valuable and growing necessity in today’s world. It can create opportunities for promotions, a better paying job or a new career. Yet, four out of five Philadelphians do not have a college degree of any sort,” Community College of Philadelphia President Stephen M. Curtis said. “By providing educational opportunities, the College works to benefit residents and the city as a whole.”

The College and the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy worked with a consortium of community-based, adult education groups that provide literacy and English language instruction to organize the day. Each community group is sending a cohort of its best students who have completed their programs and are ready to move up the educational ladder.

Participants will start the day with question-and-answer sessions with the College’s directors of Admissions and Financial Aid, as well as with key faculty members and current students. The discussions will address issues such as financial aid, child care and preparation for the College experience, said English associate professor Linda Buchheit, one of the organizers of the day.

After a brown-bag lunch, each participant will attend one of 22 classes at the College offered in programs such as Justice, Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, Health Services, Science and Engineering, and Photography. Following the classes, they will receive a guided tour of the College’s Main Campus.

“All of these opportunities will give the participants an inside view of the College, which will introduce them to the various academic programs, admission requirements, financial aid possibilities and segues to the workplace,” Buchheit said. “Hopefully, this experience will result in a more seamless trajectory for admission and potential academic success for these transitioning adult learners.”

Buchheit said the collaboration on this first College for a Day has created a relationship between the College and the city’s many community-based adult learning organizations that may lead to an even larger citywide event in 2011.