KOKOMO, Ind. — Making the adjustment from high school to college can be daunting — especially if you don’t know anyone to show you the ropes.
Indiana University Kokomo gives a helping hand to students most likely to face barriers to college success — first generation college students, students of color, and 21st Century Scholars — increasing their odds of graduating.
“We want them to be successful from the first day of their freshman year until they walk across the stage at Commencement,” said Kim Evans, academic advisor and program leader. “We will support them through their four years here, and make sure their needs are met. We’re removing barriers to academic success for these students.”
Evans and co-leader Robert Gregonis invited participating students to campus before classes started, to introduce them to the program, offer study skills programming, and, most importantly, allow them to meet one another so they know someone on campus the first day.
Yarita Lopez felt more prepared for her classes, because she wouldn’t be searching for them on the first day. She’s also excited to use the study rooms set aside for Jump Start students.
“It’s a nice environment, and we can study together and ask questions,” the Logansport resident said. “Our advisors are truly going to help us when we need it.”
Eric Allen, from Frankfort, appreciated the campus tour, and the chance to make friends before classes started.
“I feel better knowing where to ask for help, and having a built in community to support me,” he said. “It’s a big jump from high school to college, and I’ll take all the help I can get.”
In addition to study rooms just for them, Jump Start students learn from speakers each month, and can attend social activities and field trips. They also plan a community service project, possibly at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.
The support lasts beyond freshman year, Gregonis said.
“We plan to be there for these students through their time at IU Kokomo,” he said. “Our goal is to build relationships with these students, to engage them with the campus, and to increase the likelihood they will overcome whatever barriers they face, so they can earn their degrees.”
Frankfort resident Ana Hernandez called the program “empowering,” and appreciates the opportunity.
“The transition from high school to college is scary,” she said. “Any door that is opened to an opportunity for you, you have to take it.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.