How to provide additional support for students
Access is a pathway to success at U of M
Many counsellors have already discovered an excellent way to provide additional support for their students planning to study at the University of Manitoba. They recommend the Access programs.
Access programs at the University of Manitoba provide holistic support to Indigenous, newcomer, and other U of M students, empowering them on their path to success. Access student supports include academic advising, personal counselling, a financial advisor, free tutoring, and smaller classes taught by Access instructors. Many students have appreciated the personal connections made in the Common First Year Program as well as the opportunities to participate in Learning Labs, pursue personal development, and appreciate cultural wisdom. The programs’ Indigenous Unkan’s (Grandfather’s) door is always open.
Access programs include: University of Manitoba Access Program (UMAP) for students pursuing just about any degree, the Health Careers Access Program (HCAP) to prepare Indigenous residents of Manitoba for entry to health-related professions such as medicine and dentistry, and the Professional Health Program (PHP) for HCAP students already enrolled in a health professional program.
Access has been there to support students for over 40 years. Students connect to the Indigenous community in Migizii Agamik (Bald Eagle Lodge) on the Fort Garry campus and through Ongomiizwin Education at the Bannatyne Campus.
Access is family
Jesse McGregor is an Indigenous student of Cree ancestry from Grand Rapids, Manitoba and is entering his second year with Access.
“I love university. It is better than high school. If you have a bad experience in high school, you can give up on yourself. Everyone has their own potential. They have to seek it out. Sometimes they just need a little help,” says McGregor.
In Access, McGregor has made friends, strengthened his study skills, and found somewhere to belong. He says the people are like family, and, in Access, he has the support he needs. “The staff help you get through problems and personal struggles. They always find solutions. Their first priority is you.”
They can do it
Carly McLellan is a Cree Métis Professional Health Program (PHP) medical student from Thompson, Manitoba. She attended the Health Career Quest Summer Camp, designed to encourage Northern Indigenous Grade 11 students to explore health careers at the U of M. Carly ultimately joined the Health Careers Access Program and became a camp counsellor.
“That camp changed my life. I met an Indigenous medical student and realized I could do it too. I always wanted to go to university. I saw the path. I decided to do it,” says McLellan. “I want to see students, northern Indigenous high school students, believe they can be physicians, dentists, nurses. If others can do it, they can do it. They have the strength. I don’t want them to ever doubt that.”
Dream come true
Osama Jarkas is a Métis Professional Health Program student and 2018 graduate from the U of M’s College of Medicine. Originally from Fort McMurray, Alberta, Osama always wanted to be a doctor, and now he has made his dream come true, with the support of the Access programs.
“I am so happy and grateful to be graduating,” says Jarkas. “For me, Access was like a home away from home. I spent lots of time there, studying and taking naps. They were very supportive. In times of happiness and success, they were some of the first people I spoke to. They were also there for me during challenges and hardship. We would sit down together and find a way to get through it. They were there for me unconditionally. They very much felt like a family.”
Learn more about the Access programs at umextended.ca/access