Summer program sets sophomores for success

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

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Summer program sets sophomores for success

For five weeks this summer, 13 students will spend 30 hours a week catching up or getting ahead on some of SUNY Maritime’s most challenging courses – physics, terrestrial navigation and celestial navigation.

They are the first group to participate in the college’s Pass Program, designed to help rising sophomores succeed academically.

“Something always goes wrong freshman year, for students everywhere. Sometimes they may have underestimated college or something goes wrong with their family. It’s so easy for them to get derailed,” said Ana Mendieta, the college’s academic coach and Pass Program supervisor. “This program gives them the chance to redeem themselves, and that’s so important to them.”

In addition to taking the class, students are required to meet with a student tutor and Mendieta at least once a week. They have to complete eight hours of study hall – times when they are working on their own or in a small group to complete assignments. They also have weekly workshops to help them strengthen their study habits, manage their time, and cope with test anxiety.

Halfway through the program, Mendieta said she was starting to see positive results.

“Now that they are doing the mandatory study halls, they are realizing that they can do this if they put in the time,” she said. “A couple of the students are starting to change their mind about receiving accommodations, like getting extra time on a test. They are starting to see that there doesn’t have to be a stigma.”

The program is funded with a grant from the State University of New York. It allows students to take one course, live on campus and receive a stipend for food during the five-week program.

To ensure accountability, each student agreed to repay the college for tuition and fees if they fail to meet the program requirements, including attending eight hours of study hall a week and meetings with student tutors and the college academic coach.

Mendieta designed the program to give the students control of their time. It is up to them to schedule meetings, tutoring times and go to study hall.

“I want the program to be tailored to them so they don’t feel like they are being babied. I want them to have more control,” she said. “When the semester starts again, that’s when the real test comes. I’m going to try to track them and meet with them but it’s really going to be up to them.”