Members of the University of Calgary Scholars Academy Program will have a new space on the second floor of the MacKimmie Block this upcoming year.
The program — now entering its fourth year — is the first of its kind in Canada. It offers advising and mentorship services to high-achieving undergraduate students, as well as the opportunity to engage in a community service project.
The old scholars academy office had limited study space. The new office will feature a classroom, more space to study and a small kitchen.
The university tells all students with a GPA above 3.6 about the program, so competition for entrance is high. Only 18 applications were accepted this year. The GPA of entrants averaged around 3.8.
However, Cohen said acceptance is based on more than a student’s GPA, including a personal statement, references and strong extracurriculars.
“GPA alone is not enough to get you into scholars academy. You do have to have a history of being engaged in different things,” Cohen said. “Whether it’s on or off campus, whether it’s research or work — it’s people who are very well rounded in whatever they are excelling at.”
The room will also provide a space for the First-Year Scholars Program, a program that offers counseling and mentorship to first-year students entering university with a 90 per cent or higher average.
Scholars Academy coordinator Jessica Cohen said that while the new space will be reserved for Scholars Academy students, she hopes that hosting workshops and counseling for first-years will build relationships between students in the two programs.
“If a Scholars Academy student is hanging out there having lunch and a First-Year Scholar comes in, there may be a natural chat. That’s when you have two really high achieving students come together,” Cohen said. “It’s a very organic way for people to find a mentor or find someone to talk about their courses with or something in that nature.”
Cohen said she is still available as an advisor for the entire student body, including to students who applied but were not accepted into the program.