This summer, 42 Spartans got a “head start” on college thanks to Spartan StartUp, UNC Greensboro’s new five-week summer bridge program for first-year students who come from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The program’s goal is to prepare students for academic success and to help ease the transition to university life. Participants received individualized academic support and advising, participated in co-curricular and recreational activities and developed a strong network of peers, faculty and staff.

Photo of students listing to staff member talk about academic skills

Shawn O’Neil, assistant director of Tutoring and Academic Skills Programs, helps students develop academic skills and learning strategies during a weekly workshop.

The courses, which fulfill a general education requirement for students, included an online component to better prepare students for online learning. All students – many of whom are Pell Grant eligible – were provided with laptops that will be used throughout their time at UNCG, thanks to a UNC System grant.

“We want these students to understand what college is going to be like and to feel a sense of belonging” said Denisha Bland ’13, ’15 MEd, assistant director of Frontier Set initiatives. “Students stay in college longer when they feel like they belong here.”

Photo of students participating in outdoor activity at Piney Lake

Spartan StartUp students participate in team-building activities led by UNCG’s Team Quest staff.

For Brandon Totten, a Greensboro native who plans to double major in media studies and English, the program has helped him develop a community of friends and mentors that support and encourage him. He also formed good study habits that will be critical to his success.

“I went to the study sessions every day,” he said. “When you see the results of the time you put in, it makes you want to continue those habits in the fall. The best thing this program taught me is to be efficient.”

Photo of planning materials on desk

Over the course of the five weeks, students developed time management and planning skills using weekly planners and other materials.

The program continues throughout the year, with Spartan StartUp students living in the same residence hall on campus, as well as taking general education classes and participating in co-curricular activities together.

Spartan StartUp is a Frontier Set initiative supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Participation in the free program is by invitation. To learn more, click here.

 

Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Jiyoung Park, University Communications