Go directly to main content

View more photos from KEY Summer Institute.

Summer program prepares students for college success

August 13, 2018

KOKOMO, Ind. — Will I be able to find my classes? Will I know anybody on campus? What do I do if I have a question?

Those are just a few of the concerns some incoming Indiana University Kokomo students put to rest, by attending the campus’ KEY Summer Institute.

“I’ve been really nervous about starting college,” said Haley McGee, a prospective psychology major. “I felt like this program would be a good opportunity to find out where my classes are, and get any unanswered questions answered. I’m really excited to start now.”

In its fifth year, the KEY Summer Institute, formerly known as the Summer Bridge Program, prepares incoming IU Kokomo students to transition successfully from high school to college, with information about using time effectively, using the Canvas management program, services and resources available on campus, note taking, and many other skills.

It also includes field trips to the Indiana State Police crime lab or Newfields (formerly the Indianapolis Museum of Art), as well as to downtown Kokomo to get familiar with their new surroundings. 

New this year – students could earn a student worker certification, which gives them an edge on securing one of the highly sought campus jobs.

It’s also a chance to get to know faculty members and meet their new classmates, which is also an important component to student success, according to Christina Downey, assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs, who leads the program. 

“When they make friends, that’s one less worry for them about if they can fit in, and if they can make it on campus,” said Downey, adding that statistics from previous years show that students who participate in this program are more likely to graduate on time.

“There’s something about making this place their home before the semester starts that makes a difference,” she said. “We can introduce them to how the campus works, and how to get around.

Making friends was important to Alix Agee, because he didn’t know anyone coming to campus before the program. He was excited to join a group of classmates going to Bind Café, one of the stops on their field trip, after completing a day of the program.

“I wanted to use this program as an opportunity to meet people my age, who are as determined to succeed as I am,” he said. “College scared me, and I wanted a support system of people to check on me in college, to be sure I’m OK and on track, and I can do the same for them.”

Christiana Smith also was glad to make friends, “so I won’t be totally alone on the first day of school,” and to find her classes. She feels like the faculty members prepared them to succeed.

“They set the tone for the school year, and got us back in the mindset of getting ready to start our education,” she said. “It’s been a great opportunity, and I would have regretted it if I hadn’t come.”

McGee is less nervous about starting college because of attending.

“I’m excited to have met the professors, especially the ones we had for our class,” she said. “They’re really passionate about what they do, and they really care about their students. That’s what I want from my teachers. I’m excited to figure out who I’m going to be, and this campus will help me do that.”

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 08/13/2018