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APEX Summer Bridge program inspires student success
Avery Santiago admits that she should have made academics a higher priority during her time as a student at Sterling Height’s Adlai Stevenson High School. Upon graduation, she found herself on the borderline of being accepted into college.
But it’s never too late to turn things around. Santiago recently finished her freshmen year at Wayne State University with an appearance on the Dean’s List, an offer to join the National Honor Society and several scholarship opportunities.
She attributes her turnaround to the APEX Summer Bridge program, which requires students to live on campus and successfully complete English, communication and learning-strategy classes as a condition of their admittance.
“The courses are designed to improve academic skills and strengthen student awareness and responsibility,” said Monica Davie, director of APEX Scholars. “The bottom line of the eight-week program is to determine if students have what it takes to succeed in college.
The classes, for which students receive some college credit, run Monday through Friday, but they’re far from the program’s only requirements. Students also have two hours of daily tutoring and must attend workshops on such essential college skills as note-taking, testing and conducting research. They must also meet with an advisor on a weekly basis.
“At first, I was like ‘I don’t want to go to school in the summer,’ but it turned out to be for the best,” Santiago said. “I met a lot of people and I learned a lot.”
Perhaps most importantly, Santiago says she learned how to read with a purpose and study more efficiently.
Summer Bridge Academic Advisor Juanita Pipkin said students and faculty worked extremely hard over the summer, and their efforts paid off.
“Just to see the progress after eight weeks in the [students’] writing skills and discipline to be successful in college is amazing,” said Pipkin.
The Summer Bridge is offered at no charge to students selected to participate.
Last summer, in anticipation of Wayne State’s new admission guidelines, 88 students, including Santiago, were enrolled in the Summer Bridge’s pilot program. Eighty-four of those students successfully completed the program and 76 enrolled at Wayne State.
Due to the program’s success, the goal is to enroll 132 students this summer.