NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Stacey Compton is worried.
Like many parents sending their children away for school for the first time, the Aurora, Illinois mother is concerned about how her 18-year-old daughter Sariah Compton will cope when she leaves for college in just a few months.
“She is fresh out of high school and leaving home for the first time ….that’s very unsettling,” said Stacey.
Her worries are slowly subsiding, thanks to two summer enrichment programs at Tennessee State University designed to ensure new students’ successful transition and matriculation through college.
“I am glad she is doing something this summer that is not only keeping her busy but giving her a head start, and helping her to adjust to college life even before school starts,” Stacey added.
And that’s exactly what the TSU programs are intended to achieve, said Dr. Sedric Griffin, director of Admissions and Recruitment.
The programs, Academic Boot Camp and Excel-O-Rate, are combined four-week residential initiatives for incoming freshmen already admitted to TSU, to earn academic credit. They include a rigorous academic and college preparedness program, introduction to college life, public speaking, workshops and technology. Physical and mental development exercises, such as self-discipline, respect for others, good study habits and how to succeed in life, are also key components of the program.
For Tia Geter, from Omaha, Nebraska, who is transitioning to the area, and plans to major in Criminal Justice, the rigorous programs are just what she needs. They help her acclimate, while giving her a more diverse academic and multicultural environment after graduating from “an almost” less diverse high school.
“This is a good way to spend my time instead of staying in bed till about midday and wake up with nothing constructive to do,” said Getter, an honor student, who learned about the program during a college visit. She has a friend at TSU and her father’s job is relocating to the area.
“When I am not in school, I am never up before 11:30 in the morning, but in Boot Camp we are up at 5:30 and ready to start our day,” added Geter, who called her summer camp experience a personal initiative.” I want to succeed in life and I think this is a good start.”
According to program officials, 161 students, recruited from all over the nation, are participating in this year’s Academic Boot Camp and Excel-O-Rate Programs, a 13 percent jump from the previous year.
“By the end of the program, the students will have completed all of TSU’s enrollment processes including financial aid, housing and registration,” said Dr. John Cade, interim vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Support Services. “Many of them are either on full academic scholarships or academic out of state tuition waivers, and as part of the program, they will be monitored through their matriculation to ensure they are receiving the necessary help to make them successful.”
Cade said that the Academic Boot Camp and Excel-O-Rate Programs are part of a three-prong retention and graduation effort, which includes the Take 15 credit per semester initiative and minisemesters which are intended to accelerate student matriculation.
“This combined effort is part of TSU’s retention initiatives in meeting our Complete College Tennessee Act (CCTA) objectives,” Cade added.
With all of these in mind, Stacey Compton can be sure her daughter Sariah made the right choice in selecting TSU.
“I like this program; I am getting help in areas that I need to be strong in to be successful in my college work,” added Sariah, who plans to major in Nursing. She is entering TSU with a 3.5 GPA.
Everett D. Jolly, associate director of Recruitment, and Derek Wilson, admission counselor, are overseeing the summer programs.
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With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.