Scholars Social Emotional Support
Experiencing success at the collegiate level requires more than a strong knowledge base and good study habits. S2C provides opportunities for students to learn the social and emotional approaches that will help scholars succeed.
Preparing the Whole Scholar
College access, persistence and completion for low income, minority and first generation populations is critical to the economic well-being of our scholars, their families and the community at large. In the Step to College Program, scholars will learn more about and/or be exposed to:
- The college application process
- What to expect after being accepted
- Financial aid requirements and expectations
- Life outside of the classroom
- Residential living experience
- College students and professors
- Appropriate college conduct
- College level academics
- Identifying Campus Resources
- Self-advocacy training
To inform the S2C scholars of the topics mentioned above, the program enlists the support of college student workers; referred to as Mentors. The Mentors are selectively chosen with criteria that includes being the first in their family to attend college and having similar lived experiences as the S2C scholars.
Strengthening the Foundation
Research shows that first-generation college students benefit from having a strong social and emotional support system upon arrival on campus. Therefore, high school social workers, school counselors, and local community special guests serve an integral role in the Step to College program. Each evening, S2C scholars will participate in workshops and academic lectures to better orient students to the college application process, the securing of financial aid and college life. In addition, scholars will learn how to build relationships with peers, mentors, professors and within student organizations.
The two week residential experience for S2C scholars is unique in that the families of the scholars learn the role that they play in ensuring scholar success. Families are required to participate in workshops that address typical concerns such as how to pay for college, understanding the common deadlines for college applications, scholarships and grants, and how to prepare for the needs of scholars while they are away at college. Families will hear first-hand accounts of the experiences of current first-generation scholars on topics such as students paying for college, returning home during recess periods, the school life and family life relationship, beyond undergraduate schooling and more. Scholars and families are prepped for the high expectations of college throughout their entire high school experience.
The scholars have a very busy daily schedule. This is purposefully done to expose scholars to college life and to maximize the impact of their residential experience. Each day, scholars walk or run a Morning Mile to encourage routines that foster positive physical, social and emotional health. Mindfulness activities are scheduled throughout the day to provide scholars with techniques proven to increase concentration, focus, relaxation, and relieve stress. Group activities and recreation are also enjoyed during the day both before and after lunch. The purpose of this is to keep scholar energy high, maintain classroom focus and to better acquaint students with all that a college campus has to offer. The academic period is abbreviated on the weekend. Each evening, the scholars’ attend a supervised study hall lasting 1 ½ hour.
During non-academic times and on the weekends, scholars participate in nightly lectures, educational field trips, sports, recreation, college orientation, team building activities, vocabulary competitions, movies (with a message) and discussions. Scholars can expect to be treated as college students are treated, which assumes personal motivation, a good work ethic, a willingness to be stretched and challenged, and a determination to succeed. They can expect a rigorous and enjoyable program which will prepare them for college success. Parents and guardians can expect that scholars will be safe, well-supervised at all times, and that their children will have an opportunity to learn about and experience college life.