The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Disability Support Services (DSS) staff recently marked its 17th year inviting high school students to “Try College for a Day.” Since its inception, the annual event – which is offered at CSM’s Prince Frederick, La Plata and Leonardtown campuses – has provided more than 1,400 high school juniors and seniors with disabilities the opportunity to experience a ‘day in the life’ of a college student at CSM.
“Hosting “Try College for A Day” is one of our favorite events,” explained CSM Disability Support Coordinator Megan Rabie. “We get to spend the day meeting pretty amazing students and showing them how college works. We simulate all the steps and paperwork required for enrollment. Our focus is to take the angst out of the process for them and to familiarize them with our campuses.”
The program is in collaboration with the transition teams from Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties’ public school systems and aims to expose juniors and seniors to the college application process from enrollment, to applying for services, and to attending classes.
“We also discuss the difference between high school and college in seeking services due to a disability as well as the academic rigor that is required to succeed,” shared CSM ADA Coordinator Glennis Daniels-Bacchus. “We want them to understand the role of the Disability Support Services in higher education, which is different from the services they receive in high school. The DSS office coordinates services for individuals with disabilities. It is totally voluntary.”
Calvert County Public School Transition Specialist Paul Reilly has accompanied the Calvert County high school students to the annual event at CSM’s Prince Frederick Campus since the first one was held in 2002 at the college’s former location off Broomes Island Road. “There has always been great collaboration between the College of Southern Maryland and Calvert County Public Schools to help all students succeed,” he said.
The day is typically filled with students moving through a pre-set schedule of registration to classes that range from zoology and history to fitness and first year seminar.
“It is an incredible moment for these students to become exposed to college and watch them get excited about it,” explained CSM Learning Support Services Coordinator Laura Robins.
Robins also teaches first year seminar, and she has for years given the students trying college for a day an overview of her class. “It never gets old,” she shares. “I love engaging with students and seeing the sparkle in their eyes as they begin to realize and believe in their own potential.”
After meeting with CSM Fitness Trainer Melvina Frazier during the event, Antionette Smith, 17, from Patuxent High School, was excited.
“I can’t wait to come here and learn more about getting fit and eating better food,” she said. “I want to get healthy.”
About CSM DSS
CSM’s DSS is committed to providing academic accommodations to individuals with disabilities and strives to help them become full participants in the college’s programs, services and activities in compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and all other applicable federal and state laws. For more information, visit https://www.csmd.edu/student-services/disability-support-services/.