- What is Willamette Academy?
- How does Willamette Academy select participants?
- Do Academy graduates attend Willamette University?
- Does Willamette Academy work with outside agencies?
- What results has Willamette Academy achieved?
1. What is Willamette Academy?
Willamette Academy inspires first-generation students in the Salem/Keizer school district to graduate from high school and enter post-secondary education. In 2001, Willamette University created Willamette Academy as a supplemental program designed to achieve three strategic goals annually: educate students to use analytical and critical thinking skills, inspire students to become the first in their families to attend college, and empower students to serve as leaders in their schools and communities. Willamette Academy addresses the needs of its participants by implementing three integral program functions:
- ongoing academic support and tracking with emphasis on college-preparatory skills in writing, reading, math, science, and technology
- promotion of a ‘college-going culture’ among Academy students and their families by encouraging participation from parents, teachers, and counselors
- comprehensive advising throughout all aspects of the college application and financial aid processes from high school to college graduation
These aspects of the program are achieved through daily study hall meetings, monthly academic workshops, bi-monthly meetings with parents to encourage them to advocate for their child’s academic needs and educational goals, and a week-long summer residential camp on the Willamette University campus for Academy students. Throughout the year, Academy students also receive:
- 42 hours of focused activity
- 108 hours of classroom activity
- Access to 800 hours of tutoring and mentoring
- The equivalent of 117 additional classroom days over the five years of the program
2. How does Willamette Academy select participants?
WA admits students when they are enrolled in seventh grade from Salem-Keizer middle schools. Consideration is given to several factors including, but not limited to, income, family history, and recommendations. The students we admit must demonstrate academic potential and have an ambition to attend a four-year institution of higher education. The vast majority of our students will be the first in their family to attend college. Finally, WA expects a five-year commitment of support and involvement from the students' families.
3. Do Academy graduates attend Willamette University?
Willamette Academy is not specifically a pipeline to Willamette University: Academy graduates have enrolled in colleges nationwide, including Florida State University and Georgia State University. Academy graduates also attend a number of public and private colleges throughout Oregon, including about 15% of our graduates that attend Willamette University.
4. Does Willamette Academy work with outside agencies?
An essential piece of our success depends on developing community partnerships with private donors in the Salem/Keizer community supportive of our mission. We work with colleges, businesses, and other non-profit organizations in Oregon to provide Academy students and parents with otherwise unattainable experiences that will encourage them to explore their future education options, improve their access to post-secondary education, and promote a ‘college-going culture’ among Academy students and their families.
5. What results has Willamette Academy achieved?
The program’s effectiveness is measured by the success of our students:
- 100% of our recent graduates graduated from high school
- 100% of our recent graduates enrolled in a college or university following graduation
- Academy students boast average cumulative GPA of 3.55
- Academy students have received over $10 million in scholarships