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Mount St. Mary’s University and Saint John’s Catholic Prep Reach Unique Enrollment Agreement

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When Mount St. Mary’s University (MSMU) welcomes its incoming class of first-year students to campus this fall, it will also include eight “seniors” from Saint John’s Catholic Prep (SJCP) in Frederick. In a unique partnership, both institutions have agreed that these students will be both college freshmen and high school seniors.

msmu-sjcp-news-inline-500x327.jpgFor the first time in both institution’s history, eight students will be full-time freshmen at the Mount while retaining status as a senior at their high school. The Senior/Freshman Initiative promotes the two schools’ shared Catholic values and commitment to student success and academic achievement. The students were selected because their excellent academic achievements demonstrated they could excel at college-level studies while participating in traditional high school activities like athletics, clubs and service organizations.

The initiative is coordinated through the Mount’s Center for Catholic School Excellence and is designed to provide a unique in-classroom, on-campus opportunity for SJCP’s students.  “The Center for Catholic School Excellence is pleased to welcome SJCP students to our community. We are proud to help launch their university experience,” said Dean of the Division of Education Barbara Marinak, Ph.D.

The students will take a full university schedule of 12-15 credits during the fall and spring semesters and will work with an academic advisor to ensure the transition to college-level academics goes smoothly and the classes they enroll in meet their career goals. They will also have all the privileges of other Mount students, including being able to work out in the first-class fitness center, attend Division I athletic events, access the university’s library of substantial in-house and online catalogues as well as attend Mass and make friends with other students.

“Both the Mount and Saint John’s have long and historic histories of providing Catholic education in Frederick County.  Having led both schools, this partnership just seemed logical as a way to strengthen our shared educational bond while providing an innovative experience for select seniors.  Our students are fortunate to have this opportunity to start their degrees and save considerable financial resources.  I know that our students will greatly benefit from their time at the Mount,” said Dr. Thomas Powell, president of Saint John’s Catholic Prep and Mount St. Mary’s University president emeritus.

SJCP and MSMU have a shared interest in partnership, which can be found in the schools’ missions. SJCP’s mission is to prepare their students to be leaders with good hearts and discerning spirits as they pursue truth, academic excellence and service to humanity. MSMU’s mission is to graduate ethical leaders who are inspired by a passion for learning and lead lives of significance in service to God and others.

“I am thrilled to welcome SJCP seniors to the Mount as we help ease their transition from high school to higher education and encourage their development as well-rounded leaders,” said Mount St. Mary’s University President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D. “This partnership recognizes the shared goal of two of the leading Catholic institutions of the region to enhance access to high quality values-based education. This agreement is a natural fit.”

During an exciting and important time in the lives of high school seniors, the Senior/Freshman Initiative eases the transition between high school and college. The eight students’ schedules will be flexible so they can continue to be a part of their sports teams, honor societies and service organizations at their high school. These students are leaders at SJCP and will be encouraged to participate fully in completing their high school experience while thoughtfully taking steps toward their future.

“I feel like Saint John’s has prepared me well enough to already try to go off to college a year early.  This is a really exciting opportunity and I appreciate that I was given this chance.’ said SJCP current junior student Stella Fleming.   Will Fleming, Stella’s father added, “We are very excited about the unique opportunity being afforded to our daughter and to SJCP as a whole; to be challenged by a recognized university like the Mount. This partnership is yet another example of SJCP finding ways to nurture and prepare our daughter to pursue her college major and profession.”

Success of the program will be measured by students’ positive experiences on campus, level of classroom and academic engagement, and formation of mind, body and spirit. Designed to maximize the future success of each student, the Senior/Freshman Initiative paves the way for high school seniors to complete their bachelor’s degree in an additional three years at MSMU or easily transfer to another institution.