Entering its fifth year at Boston College, BC Splash is now beginning the planning of its March day of education, an event giving college students the opportunity to teach a course to local high school and middle school students. The nationwide program, started by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, brings area high school students to college campuses to be familiarized with the university and also learn from current students.
Emily Czeisler and Alicia McCormick, directors of BC Splash and A&S ’17, met each other through their involvement in the Boston College chapter of Splash.
Both joined the e-board as freshmen and taught the course, “Professors, Lectures, and Roommates, Oh My!: A Guide to College Life.” Now, Czeisler and McCormick direct the program, together one of three student organizations run under Education for Students by Students (ESS).
Teacher registration is now open, Splash’s recruiting efforts concluding at a Feb. 13 deadline. The BC program allows students to teach by themselves or in groups of two or more, pitching a course with a creative title and short description. The chosen college mentors will finalize their curricula by late March.
“BC Splash is a really great way for the high school students to experience academics and various types of learning outside the traditional classroom setting, and bridge the gap between academics and what their passions are,” Czeisler said.
The program holds two days of classes per year, and classes for this semester will be held on Sunday, March 29. The classes, which are free, are expected to attract about 300 to 600 students, the majority of which come from nearby high schools in the surrounding Boston area. BC Splash is also offered to students in seventh and eighth grade, as well as those from the greater New England area.
“Students will come again and again to the Splash program each semester, so they’ll tell their friends about it, bring them along,” McCormick said. “We often see kids coming with a group of friends.”
Last semester, over 150 BC students taught, with around 100 courses offered. High school students usually take about four courses and have a one-hour period for lunch.
“It’s a great chance to take classes about things that they might be interested in and also get a feel for what the college campus life is like, because during lunch, they get a chance to eat in our dining halls,” Czeisler said.
Popular courses from last semester included “Morality with SpongeBob SquarePants” and “How to Be a Social Butterfly,” as well as those geared toward college prep.
Other course categories are the arts, the humanities, math, science, computer science, and walk-in seminars.
“The classes are very interactive,” McCormick said. “They like to engage the students, have it be discussion-based and not just talking at them, which is really good to make the students more passionate about education.”
Several campus organizations have also offered classes with BC Splash, including improv comedy group My Mother’s Fleabag, the Student Martial Arts Club, and Boston College EMS.
“A lot of those classes, too, are really popular because the students who are teaching them are so engaging and passionate about what they do,” Czeisler said.
The time commitment required of students teaching for BC Splash is two hours, plus any additional time needed to plan for the courses. The program holds a one-hour training session, held multiple times a few weeks prior to the day of classes. The second hour is the class itself, which runs for an hour.
“What’s really great about BC Splash is that a lot of students on campus are really busy and involved with what they do—BC Splash, at least teaching for it, is a really low time commitment,” Czeisler said. “It tries to allow students to share their passions.”
In addition to classes, BC Splash runs two other programs: Splash Leaders and the Parent Program. Splash Leaders act like orientation leaders for the students arriving on campus. The program is offered at 9 a.m. before classes begin, during which the visiting students are put into small groups to familiarize themselves with the campus and ask questions about BC, as well as college in general.
“The Splash Leaders are basically like orientation leaders for the day for the high school students,” McCormick said. “They’ll do ice breakers, get to know them [the students] a little bit, show them around campus, and take them to lunch during our lunch period where we take them to Mac.”
While students spend their day taking classes on campus, parents can make use of their time by learning about the application process for BC. The Parent Program offers a panel of admissions and financial aid officers, as well as professors, and members of BC Splash talk about student life.
Featured Image by Matt Liber / Heights Staff