Students receive head-start with Fast Track

(07-12-2012)

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Soledad Dominguez, Kimberly Crowther, and Miguel Magana work as part of the team to transfer water after swinging from a rope to the platform, during the challenge course activity.

The Adams State University Title V Department continues to help all students achieve their academic goals.

In its second year, the Fast Track Program, an intensive four-week summer program in June, provided writing and mathematics courses to qualifying incoming freshmen. Students received a quick start on their education and became better prepared for the fall 2012 semester. All summer costs of housing, meals, books, and supplies were covered in the program.

Jen Maez, Moffat, appreciated the head start on college and believes sacrificing some of her summer vacation was worth the effort.

The students, from all over Colorado, including the San Luis Valley, and one, Miguel Magana from Arizona, attended. "We had a good balance of students," said Lillian Gomez, Title V Institutional Grant Project Director.

Magana said he "loved" everyone. "We all worked together for common goals."

Mike Nicholson, Title V activity director, said when selecting the students, the Fast Track staff concentrated on choosing students they felt would receive the most benefit from the program. "The courses were intense and we did not want to set up anyone for failure."

Soledad Dominguez, Center, said Fast Track offered opportunities to make new friends and to become leaders. "We are ahead of the game." The program included educational weekend trips and activities which coincided with classes, including a hiking/camping trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, a Creede Repertory Theatre production, and the Adams State Adventure Program's Ropes Course.

"The challenges we faced on the weekends taught us about ourselves. We overcame our fears and succeeded, which will be the same with our college goals," Dominguez added.

All participants agreed to the program rules, including living on campus and attending all activities/classes and weekend events. Gomez believes the participating students were motivated and committed to their undergraduate work. "They want to succeed in college and relinquished some of their summer break to get a head start."

Joni Threatt, Title V Intervention Specialist, said the students were motivated to organize their own study groups."

The 19 incoming freshman spent mornings in either mathematics or writing classes and afternoons in college prep courses. On weekends, Dr. Mark Finney, associate professor of English, integrated special events to engage the students and inspire creative writing.

"Academic writing can be very different from what some students use, especially in the social networking platforms," Nicholson said. "We wanted them to understand how to write at a college level."

Two resident assistants stayed with the students in the dorms and attended class with them. The extra attention helped prevent major conflicts or issues. "The students received a lot of attention and direct supervision in order to help them succeed," Gomez added.

At the end of the month, the students took their second Acuplacer test; they took the first one before being admitted to the program. "We will analyze the results and follow each Fast Track cohort through their college career to best assess the program," Nicholson said.

If the students satisfactorily completed the fast-track program they will receive a $1000 scholarship to Adams State.