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The Access Program: Lighting the Path Through University

June 2, 2017 — 

Full-time studies are challenging. Lectures, term paper deadlines, exams, and the many other rigors of education can be overwhelming. However, for some students, life presents challenges that make it all seem impossible. However, their hopes and dreams don’t have to fade, because the Access Program from the University of Manitoba will always light their path.

That path will lead them to the supportive place, people, and programs that will guide them to their goals.

Funded by government support, this free program is offered to any resident of Manitoba, with preference given to Indigenous peoples (Status, Non-Status, Metis, Inuit), residents of Northern Manitoba, low income earners, and newcomers. Applicants must qualify for regular University of Manitoba entrance, or be mature students who are 21 or older and are admissible to University 1.

Once enrolled, Access students always have a welcoming place in Migizii Agamik. The building design reflects the Traditional Teachings of Indigenous Peoples of the area, and is designed to provide a home-away-from home feeling for all of its visitors. Access student, Cameron Longo expresses this feeling when he says “Just being in this building is just amazing. It has so much to offer to indigenous students and people in Access. It’s a place where you feel like you belong”.

The people of Access ensure that students are know that students feel a sense of support. It’s evident when Access student, Erin Cunningham says “We all kind of look out for each other, and we cheer each other on. It’s a family. It’s a home-based community”.

There are many faces of support. Bonds are formed with other Access students – who have similar backgrounds and experiences. In addition, students can also rely on the support of Elders in Residence, student advisors, and administrators to help them on their academic journey.

With several academic, personal, and financial programs, the challenges of full-time studies are lessened. According to Access student, Art Sateana “the amount of support that academic and personal counselors bring to the table is quite astounding. They’re there to help you succeed. All they want you to do is succeed”.

Individual academic advising, tutorials, and regular consultations with Academic Advisors help with some of the scholastic challenges students discover along their path. Personal help can be found in individual and family counselling, housing assistance, childcare assistance, university/urban adjustment assistance, communication and personal development workshops, and career counselling. There is also limited financial support available to Access students.

When students need the supportive place, people, and programs along their path, Access lights the way.


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