BCAS promotes exploration through CORE summer program for high school juniors

Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences (BCAS) Associate Director of Recruitment and Retention, Donray Bennett, will put on an unforgettable experience for high school juniors across multiple states.


Zippy is always out there supporting our students. She is excited to meet the new CORE program attendees in June.

By Natalie Mowad, Editor-in-Chief

Donray Bennett, associate director recruitment and retention in the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences is planning the CORE Summer Program.

The College Overnight Residential Experience (CORE) Summer Program, Weds. June 21 and Thurs. June 22, is a unique one-night experience where high school juniors will plot strategies for a successful freshman year of college.  

“Instead of telling them where to go and what to do, we are going to make them actually do it in real time with real folks doing real scenario type work,” Donray Bennett, associate director of recruitment and retention for BCAS, said.  

The activities scheduled for the week-long program include an interactive scavenger hunt where students will navigate campus on their own with a campus map and a glossary. The high school students will have student ambassadors guiding them along the way on the hunt, but the ambassadors won’t give them any direction. The visiting juniors will navigate campus as if they were already a UA student.

The event will also feature an opportunity for the high schoolers to meet faculty, staff, and current students, to attend faculty and student panels and Q&As, and to make visits to the recreation center and a variety of offices such as academic programming. All of these activities will be supervised by BCAS staff and the group of 20 student ambassadors. School counselors may also attend and serve as supervisors.  

“The purpose of this program is to get students working on skills and developing a skillset now while in high school, that will be beneficial to them at the college level,” Bennett said. “It is a benefit for students considering attending college period. That is the main goal.”  

During the program, the goal isn’t to sell The University of Akron, it is for the students to develop relationships and bonds with people who will help them if they chose UA.  

“Ultimately we want them better prepared to be successful in college,” Bennett said. 

In Bennett’s previous experiences with the CORE program at his previous institution, it was very well received. There are students to this day that he still keeps in touch with. These students took their experience and ran with it.  

Interested high school juniors can apply for the program and register at this link. The cost to attend CORE is $100 per student. If a group of four students signs up together, the cost is reduced to $50 per student. Up to one counselor for every four students has the opportunity to attend and supervise with no cost to them.

Interested families do not need to pay right away. To secure a spot, a $50 deposit must be submitted by May 15 and then final payment must be made by June 2. However, if a student has a financial hardship, they can apply for a fee waiver, which makes the program free for students who are financially disadvantaged. Fill out the Summer CORE fee waiver to learn if there is aid available for you.

There is currently a flexibile cap of 60 participants, but this is subject to change depending on interest.  

“It is for everyone,” Bennett said. “College is not high school. When you pay to go to college, whether it be a large or small school, that is a lot of money. And it is not all going straight into the pockets of the faculty.”

UA Core logo and dates
The Logo for the UA CORE program, courtesy of the University of Akron.

Students pay for resources, support services and more. Bennett wants them to experience those services before they make a decision.

“Simply telling students isn’t enough,” he said. “Show them how easy it is, show them how receptive those people are, show them how beneficial it can be. I don’t care how great a student you are, there’s a reason why 30% of freshman across the nation drop out after their first year. There’s a reason why practically 2/3 of them aren’t graduating in 4 years. Numbers don’t lie.”

Bennett sees the CORE program as a way to help students succeed in college. “If you are able to attend, you should, because it can only help,” he said.  

High school juniors interested in the College Overnight Residential Experience (CORE) Summer Program, visit https://uakron.edu/core/ for more information. If you have questions, contact Donray Bennett at [email protected]