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Jumpstart Program Helps UTRGV Students Succeed

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EDINBURG – Being a successful high school student doesn’t ensure college readiness.

There are skills that are acquired in a student’s first year on campus.

At the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Gear Up students are given the opportunity to learn those skills before the school year even starts.

A five-week program sets the pace for success at UTRGV.

“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.

Jumpstart offers Gear Up graduates an opportunity to maintain momentum.

Nicole Saenz, an education specialist at Region One, said, “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.”

The summer bridge style set up develops recent high school graduates into better readers, writers and note takers.

They take a couple courses that count toward college credits.

This was the first year it was offered to summer prior to the beginning of the academic year.

“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 fifteen hour schedule,” said Dr. Colin Charlton, professor of rhetoric and composition at UTRGV.

Charlton teaches one of the courses. He said Jumpstart goes beyond the classroom in helping students that aren’t fully college-ready fit in; from networking to finding their way on campus.

He said the summer session helped even those already thriving students get a boost.

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