St. Thomas University has developed a new program that will allow high school students across the Maritimes to take part in university classes for credit.
The advanced standing pilot program will be offered to students in Grade 12.
"It's a little bit of a sneak peek of what it's like to be in a university classroom," said Ryan Sullivan, associate vice-president of enrolment management at St. Thomas University.
Small virtual classes
Given the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the university classes are online. But Sullivan said the virtual class sizes will be small, similar to regular class sizes at STU, which are a maximum of about 60 students.
And there will be interaction between professors and all students.
"It won't be like you're sitting down in front of a screen and self-teaching," he said. "There will be quite a bit of interaction there."
The 20 introductory classes include political science, business, journalism, psychology and economics.
Students can take a maximum of two classes per semester. Each class costs about $700.
Sullivan said that credits from these courses can be used at universities across Canada.
"No matter what program they decide to take after school … these credits can be applied."
Exploring students' interests
The Fredericton university has offered a similar program in the past but only to Fredericton-area students.
"It allowed them to explore their interests," Sullivan said.
Students must be enrolled in the final year of high school and have achieved a grade of at least 85 per cent in Grade 11 English or history.
For students who don't have final percentages for Grade 11 because of the pandemic, Sullivan said the university will look at Grade 10 mid-semester results instead.
Since COVID-19 started, Sullivan said, the university has made significant investments in technology and preparing professors for virtual classes.
More information is available at the St. Thomas University website.
"This is a great opportunity to open it up across the region."