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July Experience

July
July Experience students [1995]
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July Experience

“Many students tend to waste their senior year in high school. But our [July Experience] students go back and make that last year even more valuable because they know what’s on the other side of the mountain.” – Dr. William B. Hight

On the first of September in 1975, Davidson College President Sam Spencer asked Dr. Bill Hight to create the July Experience program. The program was intended to “provide rising high school seniors the opportunity for a unique educational, social, and creative three-week program pm the campus of Davidson College.” [1994 brochure]

The program opened in the summer of 1976, with a first year enrollment of 45 students. By 1984, the program would have 88 students. Since its inception, the program has become highly regarded and inspired similar programs at other schools.

Brian
Brian Shaw teaches a July Experience class [1995]
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For one session, in 1977, July Experience was divided into two tracks. The first, “Experience Liberal Arts,” offered no financial aid and become the July Experience program known today. The second track (with fewer students) was “Experience Science;” this track was sponsored by a $30,120 National Science Foundation Grant (NSF), which was provided partial scholarships to students with demonstrated need and covered some operating costs of the program.

Except for the science track in 1977, for many years the July Experience program did not offer any financial (though until 1988 an independent organization named the Awards Committee for Education did award scholarships to some students attending July Experience). Bill Hight explained that students came to July Experience because they wanted to. However, in 1997 Davidson College began to offer a limited number of scholarships to minority students with demonstrated need; the scholarships were restricted to minorities until at least 2003. By 2007 some scholarship money has been offered to any July Experience student with financial need; aid is awarded on the basis of need and academic achievement.

Tuition covers room & board, laundry once a week, activities/entrance fees, and program costs. It does not cover the cost of textbooks, course supply fees (if applicable), travel expenses, and personal spending money.

July
A July Experience Diploma

During the three to four week July Experience program students attend two class of their choice. In true liberal arts fashion, these 80 minute courses are in a variety of disciplines. Though the instructors are all Davidson College professors, no college credit is offered. The students are graded Honors, Pass, or Failure; each student will have personal consultations at the end of the program to discuss their skills and areas of improvement.

In addition to classes, students also have regular study periods and recreational activities. Study break sessions “offer information on college admissions, career planning, campus life and other areas of interest to young people anticipating college life.” ["9th Annual ‘July Experience’"] July Experience students live in dormitories, with Davidson College students as hall counselors.

While at Davidson College, participants are offered the full services of Davidson College; they dine in Vail Commons and have full access to the Baker Sports Complex, Student Union, and EH Little Library. They are expected to follow the Honor Code both in and out of class.

The program is not only beneficial to students; it also helps attract excellent prospects for Davidson College. From 1989-94, 69% of the students who attend July Experience applied for admission to Davidson College. July Experience remains an inspirational program for students and a notable program at Davidson College.



See Archival Record…

July Experience – Works Cited

“19th Annual Davidson July Experience.” 1994 brochure, Davidson College. July Experience Davidsoniana file. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

“9th Annual ‘July Experience’ to be Held at Davidson College July 1-27.” Press Release. 25 June 1984. RG 5/7.3b. College Communications – Publicity Files – Subjects Records. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Bowdy, Arden. “High school students get taste of college.” The North Meck Newspaper. 15 July 1981: 10. July Experience Davidsoniana file. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Carlson, Sara. “July Experience Celebrates 20th Anniversary.” The Mecklenburg Gazette. 2 August 1995: 3a. July Experience Davidsoniana file. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Hight, William B, Jr. “Self Study. Academic Summer Programs.” 15 February 1985: 2-6. RG 3/13.3. Teacher Education Records. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

“July Experience Awards Committee for Education- Scholarships, 1986-88.” RG 3/13.3c. July Experience/Project Excel Records. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

“July Experience.” Homepage. Davidson College. 15 January 2009. <http://www3.davidson.edu/cms/x3808.xml>

“July Experience National Science Foundation Proposal 1977-78.” RG 3/13.3c. July Experience/Project Excel Records. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

“July Experience – Printed Materials, 1997-1998.” RG 3/13.3c. July Experience/Project Excel Records. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

“July Experience – Printed Materials, 2002-2003, 2007.” RG 3/13.3c. July Experience/Project Excel Records. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

“July Experience Statistics.” Statistics, Davidson College. July Experience Davidsoniana file. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Lawrimore, Earl. “Summer Science Program for High Schoolers in Largest of its kind on the Country.” Press release. 1977. RG 5/7.3b. College Communications – Publicity Files – Subjects Records. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Roberts, Martha. “High School Students Invited to ‘July Experience’ NSF Provides $30,120 for Scholarships.” Press release. 1977. RG 5/7.3b. College Communications – Publicity Files – Subjects Records. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Author: Tammy Ivins
Date: January 2009

Cite as: Ivins, Tammy. “July Experience” Davidson Encyclopedia January 2009 <http://sites.davidson.edu/archives/encyclopedia/july-experience/>

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