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Summer Seminar

Three-week stay jump-starts college careers


07/15/2009

Each summer, the College's Individual Enrichment Program (IEP) offers a specialized, intensive semester specifically designed to help students make the transition from high school to college and to increase their likelihood of succeeding at and graduating from MCLA. This summer, 36 students are taking part in a three-week program that's giving them a jump-start on their college career this fall.

According to Theresa Miller, director of MCLA's Learning Services Center, the seminar is among the first high-impact experiences students can have as a member of the MCLA community.

"For many students, it is also a defining experience," Miller said. "While participating in the seminar, students will be enrolled in three classes, be assisted by a talented group of student
academic and residential tutor/counselors, live in a residence hall and participate in a variety of afternoon workshops to orientate them to MCLA college life." 

Stephanie Rivera of Springfield, MA, said her IEP experience this summer is giving her the opportunity to start off her college career as a "new beginning," while providing a preview of what campus life will be like this fall.

 "It is teaching me time management," Rivera said. "I am learning that even though I have free time, I will not always be able to go and have fun-that I will have to spend extra time studying in my dorm or in one of the computer labs. This program is teaching me so much, and I am glad that I am able to spend these three weeks up here with new people."  

So far, this summer's group has attended a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert at Tanglewood and visited the art galleries of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) and The Clark. They also traveled to nearby Greenfield for some contra dancing and hiked Mount Greylock.  They will also see plays at Shakespeare and Company and the Barrington Stage Company.

In addition to being introduced to the campus and the surrounding area through cultural and recreational activities, students earn college credits by taking courses during the IEP.

Participation in IEP doesn't stop with the end of summer. During the regular academic year, this federally funded program continues to provide academic support in the form of tutoring, assistance with writing and advising services.

A newsletter recognizes students' achievements and helps keep them apprised of academic schedules and related deadlines, as well as information about financial aid, including available grants and scholarships.

"We see students each summer who enter IEP because they understand that they need to be better prepared for the challenges of college," said Miller. "Over the course of the program, students realize-through their work, progress and interactions with teachers, counselors and student mentors- that if they focus on their personal and educational goals, they can succeed and graduate from college."

For more information, contact the Learning Services Center at (413) 662-5389 or the Admissions Office at 800-969-6252.