Getting ready for college is hard. Layers and layers of hard.
There is an increased rigor in classes. Pressure to study and score high on ACTs. Of course, there is confusing paperwork, forms and even more paperwork for admissions and financial aid. Once that is done, you just have to figure out where to live, meal plans,possible roommates, juggle family and work, and the list goes on and on.
Now, you take those layers and wrap it around students and families for whom attending college has not always been an expectation, and you have a good idea of why programs like Ferris State University’s Promesa Summer Success Program
are playing an important role in West Michigan.
The free program is part of FSU’s Woodbridge Promise Summer Success program – a college prep program that focuses on getting high school students ready for post-secondary education through development classes, ACT readiness, and an overall college level awareness upon graduation.
Students interested in enrolling in Promesa must possess a 2.50 cumulative high school grade point average and have ACT sub scores that place them into both Ferris developmental courses (MATH 110 and READ 106). Applicants must be recommended by their high school. Accepted students must commit to an eight-week long program of half-day instruction during the summer following their junior year.
The program, which is in its fourth year has grown from 16 students from the Grand Rapids area only to 60 individuals from the Grand Rapids, Holland and Hart/Shelby areas this past summer.
Although the program is open to any student, the program was designed with a focus on the [email protected]
community. Kaylee Moreno, Director of [email protected]
Students at Ferris State University provides perspective and a little background. “FSU looked at [email protected]
rates of students entering college, and they were low. We researched where large pockets of these students were living and began targeting those schools.”
Moreno says for many of these students, college is not on their radar. "[email protected]
students in general are first generation. Access is to college is not discussed or viewed as a possibility,” she says.
To identify these students, Moreno says they take a very hands-on and personal approach. "We work with community leaders and the schools to identify students on the edge but are not being engaged. They are just on the brink of being eligible for college. "
Promesa combines fundamentals of algebra, college reading methods and college study methods with a cultural infusion by partnering with community organizations such as the local school districts, the Hispanic Center of West Michigan, LAUP (Latin Americans United for Progress) and the Believe2Become Program.
Like the program’s name, the results have been promising, according to data shared by Moreno. The 2016 cohort of 60 participants produced 57 “successful completers” – a 95 percent success rate. And for the last three years, students from the Hart/Shelby area have posted a completion rate of 90 percent, while Holland has a program finisher rate of 88.24 percent. Grand Rapids has seen 84.09 percent of its students complete the program since 2013.
The most recent data available shows that 21 Promesa students from the 2014 cohort group were enrolled in post-secondary schools – six at Ferris and the remainder at other four-year institutions and community colleges. And 24 students who participated the 2015 program have been accepted to Ferris for the 2016-17 academic year.
To learn more about the program, you can visit their the FSU site here.
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and News Editor