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KINGSVILLE (June 6, 2014) — Thanks to a generous donation from the Ed Rachal Foundation, Texas A&M University-Kingsville is playing host this summer to future students who will be using the time to get a head start on their college careers.
The Center for Student Success at Texas A&M-Kingsville received $100,000 from the foundation to operate the three-part Bridges to Success program this summer. The first part is for current high school students who are taking dual credit college courses; the second is a math camp for targeted incoming freshmen who are required to take higher level math; and the third is for incoming freshmen who will take classes to help make them college ready.
“This type of program helps students get an early start on their college career. In addition to academic studies to ensure they are ready for college level work, the students will experience leadership and teamwork training,” said Dr. Rex Gandy, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Having better prepared students in the fall helps them be more successful inside and outside the classroom. As students are more successful academically, this helps the university retention and graduation rates.”
“We are grateful to the Ed Rachal Foundation for funding this program that is so important to our students,” said Dr. Nancy KingSanders, associate vice president for student success. “This program will allow high school students and incoming freshmen to make progress toward a successful college career.”
Because of the grant, the only fee paid by the students is the $150 deposit on the residence hall, KingSanders said. The grant paid for tuition and fees, meals, textbooks and for all the tutors. The room fees were complementary thanks to Dr. Terisa Riley, senior vice president for fiscal and student affairs.
Participants in Bridges to Success will be coming to the Texas A&M-Kingsville campus for three- or four-week sessions. The first session is currently underway and continues through Thursday, July 3. Fifty high school students from Raymondville, La Sara and San Benito Independent School Districts are on campus participating in dual credit courses.
“The dual enrolled students will each take two three-credit hour classes during the first summer session. They are enrolled in various core classes that will meet both their high school and college curriculum needs,” KingSanders said.
The high school students are taking college classes with Texas A&M-Kingsville students, but they are monitored and supervised when not in class, she said.
College students who work for the Center for Student Success during the regular school years as supplemental instruction tutors were transformed into Peer Assisted Learning Students (PALS) for the summer. These students stay in the residence halls with the high school students in addition to providing tutoring.
“The students have required study times, but also are given professional training in appearance and communication, goal setting and career exploration,” she said. “It is not all work. The students have a recreation time each day, but we have lights out at 11 p.m. every night.”
The other two groups, comprised of incoming freshmen, will participate in their programs during the second summer session. The math camp students will be on campus from Monday, July 14, through Thursday, July 31. The College Readiness class will be in Kingsville from Monday, July 7, through Thursday, Aug. 7.
The math camps will be divided into three sections of 30 students each from the STEM areas of engineering, agriculture and pre-health sciences. The goal of the three-week course is to get the students through college algebra and trigonometry so they are ready to take calculus when they enter the university in the fall, KingSanders said
Participants will use the Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) program to learn math. This is the same program used by math students at the university.
Thirty students who need some assistance to become college ready will be part of the College Readiness segment the Bridges to Success program. Participants will take six credit hours during the second summer session.
KingSanders said the students participating in the program during the second summer session will receive similar training in subjects like note-taking, research, career exploration and others. Although both segments will be rigorous, they also have daily recreational activities.
As one final lesson, at the end of both sessions, the students will be treated to an etiquette dinner.
Once the students return to begin their fall classes, they will continue to be part of the Student Success Center’s program that includes tutoring and mentoring services.
“Our goal is that these programs will help the students understand what college is all about and put them on the right track to graduate,” she said.