Manhattan College and the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center’s College Directions Program will host a Summer Literacy Institute from July 9-12. It is the opening event in a multiyear collaboration between the Bronx institutions.
The four-day program will provide 15 selected Bronx high school juniors with intensive pre-college academic experiences to take place both on the Manhattan campus and at the community center. It will feature three dynamic, college-level discussions led by Manhattan faculty that are designed to introduce the students to different academic disciplines.
Following the discussions, each student will work in a group led by a writing coach and a student mentor to produce a finished draft of their college application essay by the end of the weekend. Along the way, they will experience aspects of campus life, including dorm rooms, the dining hall, a movie and a barbecue on the Quadrangle, as well as learn about college services such as the counseling center and student financial aid. Their parents are invited to a closing event on Sunday, during which the students’ achievements will be recognized. The whole experience is designed to help young people envision themselves as college students and become better prepared for college life.
The weekend is the start of a program to immerse the students in a challenging, yearlong process as they prepare for college. They will maintain contact with Manhattan during their senior year of high school, taking part in the College’s Common Text Program. In this innovative effort, college faculty select one outstanding book by a contemporary author. All first-year Manhattan College students read the book during their freshmen writing course and can take part in various follow-up events, such as a lecture by the book’s author.
The students have been selected by the College Directions Program, which began recruiting and screening motivated youth during the winter. On June 16, the students and their parents attended an orientation. Each student participates in the program free of charge and will be supported and tracked by College Directions through college acceptance and four years of higher education.
College Directions works to increase the number of Bronx youth who are well-informed about the benefits of a college education and to support them as they move through the application process and into college. The majority of its participants are from low-income households and many are first-generation college students.
Manhattan College has historically advocated for college access for disadvantaged and minority students. Today, approximately 30 percent of the College’s undergraduates are first-generation college students.
The Summer Literacy Institute is made possible by a major grant from The Teagle Foundation for $240,000 over three years to be shared by both organizations. The project is one of ten in the tri-state area being funded by Teagle’s College Community Connections Program.
For more information, please contact Dan Collins, associate professor of English at Manhattan College, at (718) 862-7498 or e-mail email@example.com