As a high school student in Paterson, New Jersey, Jazmin Mora-Amaya was just beginning to plan for college but not sure where to start when she learned about a pre-college summer program for Latinx students at Montclair State University.
“I read about it and it was free and I thought, ‘no way, this is too good to be true,’” she recalls.
“Not only would I get a chance to step in and see what college is about, but I could sleep there, which was nerve wracking because even though the campus is only 25 minutes away from my home, I’ve never done something like that. I remember putting the bedsheets on my bed and feeling like a real college student.”
The three-day program opened her eyes to the possibilities, learning in workshops during the day about financial aid, scholarships and how to write a college essay. In the evenings, there was music, volleyball and soccer. “That social aspect, I felt so comfortable,” she says.
That’s been the experience of hundreds of other high school students who come to Montclair for Early College Programs offered to familiarize teens with university life, transform their learning experience, and to help them feel confident succeeding both inside and outside the classroom, says the programs’ Assistant Director Dawn Wilkenfeld.
Summer sessions include the non-credit Hispanic Student College Institute, supported by State Farm, and Pre-College Access Institute, sponsored by Walmart, and programs for credit, Italian Immersion Summer Program, Model United Nations Summer Academy and Early College Scholars.
For Mora-Amaya, attending the Hispanic Student College Institute was a turning point, leading her on a path to attend Montclair, where she is now a junior Business Administration major with a concentration in Marketing. She also serves as a peer mentor for high school students starting out on their own college journeys.
“The program opened my eyes into what college was going to be like, and it helped me as a low-income student to know what to look for in terms of financial aid and scholarships,” Mora-Amaya says. “It also expanded my horizons, helping me to know what it is that I could be doing now to help me in the future for college.”
All the Early College Programs are designed so students can explore their interests with a schedule and model that works for them, Wilkenfeld says. Applications are open.
Hispanic Student College Institute
Tuesday, July 12 – Thursday, July 14, 2022
For rising high school juniors and seniors of Hispanic/Latinx descent.
Pre-College Access Institute, Sponsored by Walmart
Tuesday, July 26 – Thursday, July 28, 2022
For African American, Asian American, Indigenous American, Pacific Islander American, Hispanic/Latinx American, multiracial American, first generation to go to college, and low income, rising high school juniors and seniors.
Italian Immersion Summer Program
Tuesday, July 5 – Thursday, July 21, 2022
For rising high school sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduating seniors. Prepares students to move with confidence from Italian 3 to an AP or advanced Italian class.
Tuition and activity fees: $855; 3 college credits.
Model United Nations Summer Academy
Monday, July 18 – Saturday, August 6, 2022
For rising high school sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduating seniors – and taught by a former UN diplomat. Offered in a hybrid format, with a one-day, in-person class session on the first day of the program, followed by class assignments on students’ own time, and then a one-week mandatory in-residence component to conclude the program.
Tuition: $1,950; 3 college credits
Early College Scholars
For rising high school juniors and seniors. Earn transferable college credits, experience the rigors and expectations of college-level classes, learn alongside University students and engage in courses taught by University professors on campus or online. Choose from a wide variety of undergraduate courses within the 100 and 200 levels. View suggested courses and the course schedule.
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