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Bissett recipients - prepared for success

When the 2014-15 academic year begins in September, SAIT will welcome the first group of Bissett Bursary recipients, thanks to the generosity of Calgary philanthropist David Bissett. His gift of $5 million will provide full tuition annually to high school graduates who require financial assistance. Each student will receive up to $15,000 to cover tuition over two years.

When Bissett announced the donation last February, he said, "Education is the door to opportunity and SAIT is the place in Calgary that's graduating students with the skills they need to be successful."

When they begin their studies at SAIT next fall, the students will not only receive a financial ‘leg up’ from a generous donor, they will also receive personalized counselling to help them on the road to academic success. They will attend PREP 100 – The SAIT Experience, a three-day orientation course designed to help them prepare for their studies. It will include advice on how to manage time, improve memory, learn strategically, take effective notes, work in teams and manage exam stress.

“Even students who have good marks may not be prepared for the demands of an intensive SAIT program,” says Shan Robertson, Manager, Learner Success Services in SAIT’s Centre for Academic Learner Services. “We know that many students who take the prep course say they feel much more confident about attending post-secondary for the first time.”

Each Bissett recipient will also be matched with an academic coach who will meet with them one-on-one several times in the first semester and ongoing after that. Robertson points out that helping students stay “on track” in their first semester significantly improves their chances of completing their program.

“Students always need a cheering squad and a coach behind them,” says Robertson. “Sometimes it’s their parents or a group of friends. We’re going to make sure there’s a support system available to help each one of these students find success at SAIT.”