In July, Texas Tech University-Costa Rica launched a Pre-University Summer Program. Geared toward high school students eager to get a closer look at high-level university courses, Texas Tech-CR offered its students a challenging educational program via distance so that students could take an intellectual journey while remaining safe. Even though students took online, synchronous classes, they still had the amazing opportunity to explore their favorite subjects or new ones with Texas Tech’s dedicated and distinguished faculty.
We can all agree that this year has been unlike any other. Parks, beaches and educational facilities have been closed for months now, so the idea of offering pre-university courses seemed like it would be a motivational and productive use of students’ time during the July vacation.
It’s common for high school students to feel nervous when trying to understand what they want study in university, but here at Texas Tech-Costa Rica we know that sometimes all you need is a bit of encouragement and exposure to the outside world to feel more comfortable with your decision. That is exactly what pre-university programs are for.
TTU-CR offered students the opportunity to choose from a varied selection of courses from “Film and Literature” to “Innovation and Engineering,” complete with guest lectures, group projects and lots of lively discussion. By the end of the two-week summer sessions, we had a total of 50 students and were able to offer 10 scholarships to outstanding students who were not only in need of financial assistance, but who also demonstrated a true eagerness and motivation to learn.
All classes were taught live through a variety of specialized digital learning platforms, and our faculty, who are highly trained in online education, are experts in best practices to ensure student engagement and success. Our “Intro to University-Level Mathematics” professor, Hugo Marenco, says that he enjoyed teaching this class because the relaxed nature of the summer course gave him the freedom to experiment and try new approaches to teaching.
“The range of age and ability of the students was substantial and made the class more challenging and exciting to teach; it also made it more dynamic,” Marenco said.
Andrés Corrales, a TTU-CR faculty member, who taught “Intro to Restaurant and Hospitality Management” as well as “Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurs in the Hospitality Industry,” kept his classes interesting by inviting speakers from around the world to share their career experiences. This offered students the opportunity to listen and learn from professionals who helped them gain a better understanding of the industry. These sessions were complemented with theory and exercises which covered the main topics within the hospitality and tourism industries as well as business essentials to start an entrepreneurial venture of their own.
One of Andres’ guest speakers was Dario Filippone, an Asset Manager at an investment fund called Schroders. During this class, students learned what an asset manager is, what role they play in the hospitality industry, what their day-to-day tasks look like, as well as some examples of projects they take on.
We also welcomed future Red Raiders into this program. Inés Ureña, a RHIM major, took “Intro to Restaurant and Hospitality Management” to get a closer look at what her classes are going to look like for the next four years.
“I very much enjoyed being part of this course because it not only taught me a lot about the major I'm about to study, but I also had the chance to speak with people who work in the industry. This experience was inspiring to me because I discovered how excited I am to start a career at Texas Tech-Costa Rica. What I liked most about the course was that I had the chance to meet people from all over the world that gave my classmates and me useful advice for our career pathway.”
Another one of our students, Fernán Sánchez, participated in “Introduction to Film and Literature,” where he says that he learned a lot about his passion for movies and storytelling.
“The professor did a great job in guiding us through discussions about messages and symbolism found in the stories,” Fernán said. “I really enjoyed being able to discuss movies with people who have the same knowledge of them as I do. If I had the opportunity to take this course again, I would love to.”
The Pre-University Summer Program is scheduled to be held two times a year, with more courses for high schoolers to take part in. Here at Texas Tech, we encourage you to try various subjects and start building a path toward your future.