2016-07-15 / Community

SMCC summer program begins with full class

Dozens of recent high school graduates are getting a jump start on their college careers at Southern Maine Community College through a program that provides the guidance and support they need to succeed.

More than 40 students are enrolled in Summer Academy, a three-week intensive prep program that prepares students for college-level coursework, introduces them to college life, and guides them in setting career and academic goals. Maine residents attend the program for free and, upon completion, receive a $500 scholarship toward their fall semester.

The students come from all across Maine, from York County in the south to Aroostook County in the north. The group also includes out-of-state students from New Hampshire, New Jersey and Montana.

“It’s not enough to simply get students into SMCC. We must also ensure that they succeed once they are here,” said SMCC President Ron Cantor. “Summer Academy provides the support and guidance that allow students to make a successful transition from high school to college. Students learn valuable skills that will serve them through their college careers and beyond.”

Summer Academy kicked off July 5 and runs Monday through Thursday for three weeks, ending on July 21. More than two dozen academy participants are living in an SMCC residence hall during the program, with the rest commuting to the program each day.

Kirstie Haas of Woodstock said the academy will help her academically while she gets to know SMCC and learns skills that will benefit her throughout college.

“I’ll know the campus better and meet some of my professors and teachers,” she said at a welcome barbecue that was held for students and parents on July 5. “That should be a big help.”

Summer Academy, now in its second year, is one of several programs at SMCC that provide support and academic guidance aimed at student success.

The MySuccess program, now in its third year, includes a three-week summer session for incoming students from Portland Public Schools to prepare them for college and improve their placement and success in college-level courses. Students also receive the continued support of a dedicated adviser to help build their academic and life skills while guiding them to completion of their college degree.

The Path to Graduation program, also in its third year, provides students with support, structure and incentives, including a dedicated success coach, to steer them to completion of their associate degree in two years. The program is made possible through a three-year $500,000 grant from KeyBank.

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