POTSDAM - A different kind of classroom will be open to north country high school students this winter.
Approximately 150 students will be taking classes at Clarkson University on Saturday mornings, beginning Jan. 15.
There will be nine courses this year, three of which have not been offered before. One of them, Real Medicine, is being taught by an instructor in the college's physician assistant program, which is scheduled to begin next January.
"We always try to open it up to all the schools on campus," said Brenda R. Kozsan, the associate head of school for the Clarkson School. "It's really there for students who are looking at various careers but aren't sure that this is what they want to do, so it's a great exposure."
Through the Clarkson School, high school seniors can enroll and take classes at Clarkson before they have their diplomas. They finish their high school careers at Clarkson and get a year of college completed at the same time. The Saturday morning classes, called Project Challenge, are administered through the Clarkson School.
Most of the university's five schools are represented in the offerings, with the exception of engineering.
Courses run from 9 a.m. to noon and conclude on Feb. 12. Registration costs $140, a fee that some school districts pick up themselves. Though Ms. Kozsan could not say whether budget cuts have led to more districts ending their participation, more students are paying the bill themselves.
"I do see a number of registration forms increasing in terms of self-paying students, which is good because more students are taking advantage of the self-pay option, even if their schools aren't sponsoring the registration," she said.
Registration is open to any north country student from 10th to 12th grade. Students from across Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence and Franklin counties come. For the students, it is a chance to take a different kind of class than what is traditionally offered in high schools. For Clarkson, it is a recruiting tool.
"Tthough most of them have been to a hockey game, when they're actually interacting witht he professors and learning about specific departments, it increases their understanding of Clarkson," Ms. Kozsan said.
The registration deadline is Friday, but she said the college will continue letting students in after it has passed, if there is still room.
On the Net:
Clarkson Project Challenge: www.clarkson.edu/oep/