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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee has launched the second year of a special program that gives local African American students a preview of what its like to attend college.

Dr. Nina Elliot, associate provost for faculty and student diversity in academic affairs, said 86 area high school students are participating in the Knoxville Area Pre-College Scholars, or KAPS, program from June 8 to June 20.

For two weeks, local high school juniors and seniors live in UT campus dorms, eat at campus cafeterias, and take college-like courses on ACT Preparation, career counseling, study skills, and listening and speaking skills.

They also may choose from several elective courses, including: movies and music; money management and wellness; anger Management; self-awareness; diversity and minorities; power speaking; music therapy; and meditation.

“Many times freshmen in college find themselves struggling to survive after only a few short weeks of college,” Elliott said. “They are still trying to use the same approaches in college that worked with a fair degree of success in high school.

“The KAPS program demonstrates the reality of just how challenging the college environment can be. It provides students with an opportunity to experience college life, recognize the benefits of a college education, and work with university faculty and staff to develop the academic and social skills needed to succeed in college.”

The program covers the cost for room, food, and materials, and pays a $200 stipend to each student who successfully completes it.

Elliott said the program was extended to two weeks this year after the success and positive response to last year’s inaugural one-week program.

The theme of the 2003 program is “Achieving Excellence In Academics, Family, Spirituality, Community Service and Wellness,” she said.

KAPS participants are nominated by high school counselors or may apply on their own, she said.

The students must have a high school grade point average of 2.5 or higher; be enrolled in an academic rather than vocational high school curriculum; have completed Algebra I with at least a grade of C by the end of the 10th grade; have a good school attendance record; and demonstrate personal responsibility through involvement in school, community, work, church, or home activities.