JumpStart Program Helping College Students Succeed

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EDINBURG – Being a successful high school student doesn’t ensure college readiness. However, there are now skills that are being taught to students who are undergoing their first year on campus.

At the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, a five-week program, called JumpStart, is giving GEAR UP students the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to succeed before the school year even starts.

“The title kind of encapsulates it that it gives students a jumpstart into their university education,” said Kristin Croyle, vice president for student success at UTRGV.

The program offers GEAR UP graduates an opportunity to maintain momentum.

“It’s not just high school, take a break and maybe want to take a longer break. This is really about continuing your education and really sticking with it,” said GEAR UP education specialist Nicole Saenz.

The summer-bridge-style setup develops recent high school graduates into better readers, writers and note takers. They take a couple courses that count towards college credits.

This was the first year it was offered prior to the beginning of the school term.

“Now, we’ve pulled that back into the summer, so that we do more of a prep class to try to help them discover what their strengths and weaknesses are before they have to put those to the test with a 15-hour schedule,” said UTRGV professor of rhetoric and composition Colin Charlton, who teaches one of the courses.

Charlton said JumpStart goes beyond the classroom and helps students that aren’t fully college ready to fit in. He said it also helps them develop networking skills to finding their way on campus.

He added the summer session helped even those “already thriving” students get a boost. 

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