College Quest

Registration for College Quest has closed

College Quest helps high school students entering grades 10-12 prepare for and understand what it takes to succeed in college. Join us online to explore what Western has to offer. In this one-week program, students attend a college course of their choice taught by Western faculty, earning one transferrable credit. A variety of activities will be scheduled with RAs, the WWU admissions team and other program staff guides to help students understand the whole college experience.

Youth program participants must abide by all University regulations and program rules

Four female high schools students sitting around a table in a dining hall, smiling at the camera.

At a Glance


10 - 12


Mon-Fri, July 13-17, 2020
Mon-Fri, July 20-24, 2020


8 a.m. - 5 p.m.





Week 1: July 13 - 17, 2020

Advance your skills and gain confidence with video editing techniques – from basics to special effects - with Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro.

Software Notes:

If you have any questions about software/hardware before registering, please email instructor Mark Miller. There are many different solutions, we will work with you to find one that works.

Students will:

  • Explore the development of a story board, shot list and script.
  • Learn equipment, including digital cameras and do-it-yourself lighting setups with whatever lights you have in your house.
  • Learn the basics of shooting footage with a green screen (or whatever you have on hand in the house), compositing/chroma keying, shooting B-roll and syncing footage from multiple cameras.
  • Practice these principals by producing and critiquing multiple short films each day including a commercial, a silent film and short “Home Life" film.
  • Produce a music video for the final project. (Final Project may be updated/adapted for online course based on progress/needs of participants)
  • Explore educational, personal and career goals in a safe, student-centered environment.
  • Learn shooting composition and shot framing, such as angles, pans and tilts, leveling and zoom.
  • Create and construct a script, shot list, storyboard and finished product.

Instructor: Mark Miller

Explore the process of oral communication and build essential skills that culminate in a Ted Talk type presentation.

Students will:

  • Examine the basic principles of public speaking.
  • Participate in lively and interactive discussions, observations, reflections and skills-rehearsal.
  • Apply each principal of speech as the speaker and as the listener.
  • Deliver speeches in their own voice and style in front of an audience.
  • Learn to critique and receive feedback in a constructive manner.
  • Build speaking skills and self-concept that are essential for success in life.
  • Understand the process of creating, organizing, revising and delivering various types of speeches.
  • Develop critical thinking and reflection skills.
  • Build self-concept and confidence.
  • Demonstrate ability to apply concepts.
  • Gain awareness of inclusion, equity and social justice beyond tolerance.

Instructor: Dr. Tara Perry

The effort to find reliable and affordable carbon-free energy sources is one of the greatest scientific challenges facing the next generation.

Students will:

  • Explore renewable energy technology topics and learn about the science underlying biofuels, wind, wave power, nuclear power and solar cells.
  • Work in small groups to research a focus area of renewable energy and at the end of the course give group presentations to communicate their findings.
  • Keep a lab notebook of their experiments.
  • Perform in-depth research on one particular energy source and present their findings.
  • Learn the role of materials science in renewable energy technology.
  • Critically evaluate and discuss renewable energy options.
  • Learn Structure design and planning of experiments

Instructor: TBD

Week 2: July 20 - 24, 2020

Marine ecology examines the environmental and biological factors that affect distribution, abundance and diversity of organisms. This course will introduce local marine habitats to examine ecological patterns.

Students will:

  • Take virtual field trips to explore marine habitats.
  • Gain an understanding of human impacts and how citizens can help protect marine habitats.
  • Develop questions and hypotheses, conduct research, analyze data and present results.
  • Gain an understanding of environmental and biological features with a focus on invertebrates.
  • Develop familiarity with local-Pacific NW marine habitats and organisms.
  • Research how organisms' life habitats enable them to utilize their habitat.
  • Record research data in a detailed field journal.
  • Design and plan experiments that address specific hypotheses.
  • Gain an understanding of Citizen Science and how to become a steward of our local marine environments.

Instructor: Grace Freeman

This experiential course explores the practice and underlying theory of very early stage entrepreneurship and innovation with varied economic and non-economic purposes. Developing ideas through application of entrepreneurial and innovative processes is the focus.

Students will:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the processes for opportunity recognition through writing opportunity/problem statements
  • Demonstrate understanding of the process for early-stage idea development through drawing out ideas in the process framework
  • Demonstrate understanding of the scientific method to build empathy and engage in evidence-based entrepreneurship and innovation through:
    • Writing idea hypotheses, getting out of the classroom and conducting primary research (effectively engaging with customers and beneficiaries of their ideas) and secondary research (use of existing data) to test their hypotheses and making appropriate adjustments for additional tests
  • Demonstrate ability to communicate ideas through:
    • Building and explaining an idea prototype
    • Creating and delivering a live idea ‘pitch’ presentation demonstrating learning accomplished
  • Demonstrate basic understanding of teaming through effectively working a with team and completing a peer and self-performance evaluation
  • Understand the properties of materials and how they are tested
  • Examine types of materials, and how their characteristic properties influence their applications
  • Learn how materials are processed to produce products
  • Gain knowledge of the processing effects on the microscopic structure of materials
  • Observe and discover how the microscopic structure of materials affects their properties, and how those properties can be optimized by manipulating that structure during processing

Instructor: Meg Weber

Is it true that we use only 10 percent of our brain? Or that we should only believe part of what we see? And what is a phantom limb, anyway? Participants learn the answers to these and other questions in College Quest’s Behavioral Neuroscience 194 course.

Students will:

  • Investigate the neural substrates of normal and abnormal behavior, thought and emotion.
  • Actively learn about brain structure and function during hands-on brain dissections.
  • Become familiar with different ways to study brain and behavior.
  • Interact with some of the student and faculty researchers from Western’s Behavioral Neuroscience program.
  • Understand the basics of the chemical and neural signals neurons use to communicate.
  • Be able to think about specific behaviors in terms of the brain regions that work together to produce them.
  • Appreciate the diversity of approaches that behavioral neuroscientists use to study brain activity and behavior.
  • Appreciate the neural changes that underlie different forms of psychiatric or neurological illnesses.

Instructors: Dr. Janet Finlay and Dr. Mike Mana


For schedule details, please reference your program information letter.

Scholarship Opportunities

Financial assistance is available for this program! Before registering, Apply for financial assistance with the Western Youth Program Financial Assistance application.