APIE Debuts College Readiness Summer Program

By: Amanda Mills, College Readiness Advocate

When you hear the words “college readiness,” your mind most likely jumps to GPAs, SAT scores, and AP classes. Yet post-secondary education demands a variety of attributes outside of academic strength from its students.

Many students who might otherwise be successful in college lack the self-awareness, discipline, or other tools to make the most of their education. That is why, in June 2014, APIE implemented its first ever Summer College Readiness Program, which targets freshmen and sophomores and integrates academic instruction with personal exploration and development. At John H. Reagan Early College High School, seven college readiness advocates and 17 underclassmen spent three weeks together, thinking about and preparing for the rest of high school, the path to college, and the Texas Success Initiative (or TSI) exam.

The class, which took place Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., mixed APIE’s reading and writing curriculum with various team-building and enrichment activities. Students took an interest inventory, discovered their personal learning styles, and learned about the many resources available to them in their school and their community. As they became more knowledgeable about what they personally need to succeed and where they can turn for support, the students also became more confident in their abilities. A variety of exercises and fluid movement between individual activities and small- and large-group activities kept students engaged throughout class.

Of course, preparation for the TSI exam remains the core of the Summer College Readiness Program. Of the 14 students who were able to test on the last day of the program, six passed both sections and eight passed one section of the English Language Arts exam. The six who passed both portions will be able to take dual credit courses and earn college credit starting this fall, while in high school. In addition, more program alumni will take the TSI this fall when they return to class.

After taking the test on the last day of the summer session, the students visited The University of Texas campus. While it might have been difficult for the students to remember why they were at school when they could be at home watching a World Cup match, the field trip allowed the students to see why they had been working so hard.

Many students will begin college this fall without the tools and sources of support they need. Fortunately, Reagan High School students receive multiple opportunities to learn about and prepare for higher education. Reagan’s College and Career Center, Raider Enrichment Center, and community partnerships with organizations like APIE and Advise Texas provide Reagan students with opportunities to explore their futures. The new APIE Summer College Readiness Program is one such opportunity, encouraging students to take ownership of their futures as they prepare for college and the world beyond.

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About Austin Partners in Education

Austin Partners in Education is a non-profit organization that provides innovative programs to improve student academic performance.

2 responses to “APIE Debuts College Readiness Summer Program”

  1. Alex Pritchett (@alexpritchett) says :

    Cool idea for a program and always good to see college students mentoring high school students. Helps with personal growth from both sides. How did you guys select the students for the program?

    • Austin Partners in Education says :

      We picked students at Reagan who the school administration recommended. APIE started working with 9th-11th graders in spring 2013, and we recruited students for the summer program who were unable to participate in the spring as well as those students from the spring program who needed more time to prepare for the TSI Assessment.

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