Champlain's ‘Imagine College' Program Encourages High School Students to Dream About the Educational Possibilities Ahead

Champlain College Imagine College

Champlain's ‘Imagine College' Program Encourages High School Students to Dream About the Educational Possibilities Ahead
BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Champlain College's pre-college and college success initiative, Imagine College, will bring 34 high school students from Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C, and South Carolina. to campus July 6-11 to see first-hand what life at college could be like and how it might change their lives.

UPDATE: 7/11/15: See photos from the commencement ceremony on Flickr at

The summer immersion program is designed to help foster greater college access for underserved populations, encourage them finish school, and help prepare them for a life of career and personal success.

"The experience is designed to strengthen students' commitment to college attendance and graduation, as well as give them strategies to help navigate the college admissions process said Ame Lambert, Imagine College program facilitator and chief diversity officer in Champlain's Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI).

The six-day "semester" program, now in its fourth year, is offered at no cost to all participants thanks to lead funding by Elizabeth Steele, an anonymous donor, and the Hendrickson Family Foundation. The Imagine College program is also supported by Champlain College's Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Office of Advancement, and is coordinated through the Champlain College Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

"Champlain College has a long commitment to access and success. This initiative is one more way Champlain is fulfilling its mandate/commitment to be 'in and of Vermont and to create pathways and pipelines to college under its access and success strategic initiative,'" Lambert noted.

"We focus on low-income students, students of color, New Americans and first-generation college students. Research has shown that these populations benefit greatly from different or additional assistance in navigating the college process and succeeding in college. On average, members of these groups tend to be less academically prepared for college, but with the proper support, they can succeed and graduate," These bright students have the capacity to excel and we must do all we can to help them do so by removing barriers and providing support as needed she said.

MentorsImagine College was developed as part of the Champlain 2020 Strategic Plan's diversity and inclusion initiatives. About a third of the students are from Vermont, while the remaining students are coming from New York City, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and as far away as South Carolina this year.

Over the course of the week, students will explore various areas of study including game programming, art and animation, digital forensics, critical thinking and writing, instructed by Champlain College faculty. The students will learn about career options and the college admissions process.

The program exposes students to emerging and established fields including new media and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields in a fun and engaging way and helps them see previously unexplored or unknown career paths. The program also helps build critical social and emotional competencies needed for success in and outside the college classroom. The goal, Lambert said, is to have students leave seeing themselves as college students and committed to the college-access process. They will receive periodic check-ins from their Champlain leaders as they continue their journey toward college.

Imagine College includes team-building activities for students, visits to downtown Burlington and, a talent show, etiquette dinner and a game of life financial simulation game. The week wraps up a commencement dinner and presentations by students on July 11.

"This kind of program is critical to making sure that all high school students, no matter their socio-economic situation, have a chance to have the meaningfully better life Champlain College strives to provide for its students. With continued support, we hope to expand the scope of this program and make the experience even richer and more meaningful," Lambert said.

About the Champlain College Office of Diversity and Inclusion:
The Champlain College Office of Diversity and Inclusion exists to work with all campus stakeholders to create an inclusive, inter-culturally competent campus and equip all constituents with the tools to thrive in a global, multicultural and interdependent world. On an equally focused, but micro level, the office provides specialized support services for underrepresented populations, ensuring they have a successful experience at Champlain and beyond.
Learn more about the program and diversity initiatives at Champlain College at diversity or contact Lambert at or (802) 860-2784.

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit