Dickinson opens doors this summer to local high school seniors: How to apply

Maddie Seiler
The Sentinel (TNS)

Dickinson College students may go home in the summer months, but that doesn't mean the campus will be empty until their return.

In July, the college will house 24 rising high school seniors from across south-central Pennsylvania, including York County, who will attend a free three-week seminar hosted by Dickinson's House Divided Project.

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The college-level seminar will "explore the historic struggle for freedom in the United States," a Dickinson news release states. It describes the purpose of the seminar as giving students from "underrepresented backgrounds," including low-income or first generation college students, a chance to learn about and address fundamental questions of freedom, democracy and self-government.

The free seminar includes residential room and board, and students have the opportunity to earn college credit for their work. Students also get to experience college life and receive counseling on the college admissions process, according to the release.

Applications for the event are open through midnight May 15 and can be found online. The application requires a one-page form, an essay that's 500 words or less, a current transcript and a letter of recommendation.

The House Divided Project examines the Civil War and Reconstruction, according to the release, and it exists to help all grades learn more about the Civil War and the "destruction of slavery, with special attention paid to efforts to end slavery, known as abolition."

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"The seminar is a life-change experience for students, and it has been a career-changing experience for me," Matthew Pinsker, director of the House Divided Project and scholar of the American Civil War and Abraham Lincoln, said in the release. "Students engage with the powerful stories of the fight to abolish slavery, which illuminates ongoing debates about freedom, democracy and self-government."

The seminar debuted last year and receives funding from a three-year, $3,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation's Knowledge for Freedom program, Dickinson said. It is one of 20 institutions hosting the program.

According to the House Divided Project's website, the seminar's move-in date for students is July 10, the program will be held July 11 through July 29, and students will leave July 29. A typical day involves lecture and seminar sessions in the morning; workshops and organized activities in the afternoons; and reading, writing and tutorial discussions in the evenings.

The schedule also includes trips to the Gettysburg Battlefield, the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.