The Colleges recently welcomed 21 members of the incoming Classes of 2017 to participate in the Summer Institute, a five-week intensive academic program for students accepted into state academic opportunity programs. Over the course of the program, students will explore a range of academic preparatory work including college writing, geoscience, the humanities, film analysis and study skills that will better equip them for college success.
Facilitated by James Burruto, director of Academic Opportunity Programs, Edith Wormley, the assistant director of the Academic Opportunities Programs, and eight HWS students who participated in the program in the past, the Summer Institute is a bridge program for students enrolled in Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and Access Opportunity Program (AOP) as they transition from high school to college.
During the Summer Institute program, students take five classes, three of which are credit bearing. The courses start at 8:30 a.m. and last until 4:15 p.m. and are accompanied with required Study Table time from 7 to 11 p.m.
“Summer Institute offers a great learning community,” says Burruto. “When the students first arrive, they have no connection to each other but by the end of the third week, you definitely see a community developing. In addition, the students are exposed to the services the campus has to offer such as the Pathways program offered by the Salisbury Center for Career Services and Professional Development and services offered by the Office of the Registrar.”
In addition, Burruto and his staff work to create a community among students by taking them on excursions to the Women’s Rights National Historical Park and Six Flags Darien Lake amusement park, and outings to experience other activities such as bowling.
The Summer Institute has been successful in preparing students for college life. During this past academic year, 50 percent of HEOP and AOP students had a 3.0 GPA or better. HEOP and AOP are educational programs that were created by the New York State in 1968 and have been at HWS since 1970. The programs provide first-generation college students from difficult education and economic situations the opportunity to attend college.
“The whole process is a foundational experience that prepares students wonderfully,” says Burruto.