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Ferris' Commitment to Student Success Demonstrated in Center for College Readiness

Helping students improve their essential academic and college success skills is the primary mission of Ferris State University’s Center for College Readiness.

Ferris State UniversityPrograms offered through the Center for College Readiness assist students in developing academic and career development skills to prepare them earlier to have a productive and successful academic experience. The Center partners with high schools, career and technical education centers, and intermediate school districts to provide and strengthen opportunities for students to become more college ready as they look toward their first year of college. The office also offers staff presentations to high school juniors, seniors and parents to support the college application process and to promote a smoother transition to college.

“The Center for College Readiness at Ferris State University, with its many partners at high schools, intermediate school districts and career tech centers throughout Michigan, has developed a wide array of pre-college programs that permit high school students to experience college-level teaching and learning experiences to prepare them for the post-secondary experience,” said William Potter, associate provost for Retention and Student Success.

The Center for College Readiness is housed under the Transfer Services Center in Ferris’ Retention and Student Success unit. The three primary programs that operate under the office’s banner are: CARE 102: Career Exploration and Education Planning, Operation Excel and the Woodbridge Promise College Prep Programs.

“These courses are offered at discounted tuition levels to make sponsorship by our secondary partners possible,” Potter said. “Successful students earn college credits and grades at little or no cost to them or their families before they enter the college or community college of their choice thus saving both time and expense.”

The CARE 102: Career Exploration and Education Planning is an online course designed for high school students to begin identifying what career path they will choose when they arrive on campus. The course is offered at a contracted rate to high schools and intermediate school districts. For the 2013-14 school year, it is $5,100 for a cohort of up to 30 students. The course is primarily taught in a fully online delivery format using Blackboard Learn 9.1 Learning Management Systems. Blended and face-to-face instruction options are also available. Opportunities for self-assessments, online career search and lessons about work ethic are among the course benefits. The course includes opportunities to job shadow or interview career professionals.

In Fall 2012, 70 high school students enrolled in CARE 102 and, in Spring 2013, 189 students enrolled in the course.

This fall, the course has an enrollment of 162 students. The Fall 2013 participating high schools and career and technical education centers are ASM Tech Early College, based in Scottville; Rockford High School; Roscommon High School; Suttons Bay High School; Traverse Bay Area ISD Career Tech Center, in Traverse City; and Traverse City West High School.

William PotterOperation Excel’s mission is to prepare incoming freshmen students with the aptitudes and attitudes that are essential to first-year college success. The Center for College Readiness, in partnership with academic departments at Ferris, has taken a leadership role in offering pre-college experiences that will help prepare entering freshmen with the aptitudes and attitudes essential to first-year success, Potter noted.

During the pilot phase of the program, in Summer 2012, 17 of the 18 enrolled students successfully completed the summer courses and enrolled for their first semester of college with eight required credits. Fifteen of the students qualified for a $1,000 scholarship by completing the right credits with a “B” grade or better. In Summer 2013, 18 students participated in the program. All 18 students are continuing their education at Ferris. Thirteen of the students earned the $1,000 scholarship by finishing all of their coursework with a “B” or better.

Students eligible for the Woodbridge Promise College Prep Program can earn credit and establish proficiency in English, mathematics and reading prior to beginning post-secondary work. Students can strengthen their admissions credentials, build the knowledge to improve ACT scores for post-secondary admission and financial aid packages, complete college credits and more.

Students from the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District, who qualify, are accepted to the Woodbridge Promise College Prep Program and have the opportunity to earn up to 14 college credits during their senior year of high school. The program, designed for high school seniors, is co-sponsored by Ferris, Big Rapids Public Schools, the Chippewa Hills School District, Crossroads Charter Academy, Evart Public Schools, MOISD, Morley Stanwood Community Schools and Reed City Area Public Schools.

During the pilot phase of the program, in 2012-13, 33 students attended and 16 took 14 credits over two trimesters. Seventeen took 11 credits during the spring semester. Nine of the students are currently enrolled at Ferris. A total of 370 developmental or transferrable credits were earned by the 33 students. Twenty students are enrolled in the program for the 2013-14 academic year.

The Woodbridge Summer Success Bridge Program provides eligible high school seniors with the opportunity to earn up to eight college credits. The accepted students must commit to an eight-week program of half-day instruction. The Woodbridge Promesa Summer Success bridge program is offered to students in the Grand Rapids area. During Summer 2013, 11 students completed the pilot phase of the summer program. Woodbridge Promesa Summer Success partners include Ferris’ Hispanic/Latino Cultural Center, the Hispanic Center of West Michigan, the Grand Rapids Urban League and Ferris’ Kendall College of Art and Design.