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Jump Start program puts freshmen ahead of their class

Jump Start

AUG. 23, 2013 – For the fourth consecutive summer, SPSU’s Jump Start program has helped new students to get a jump on their college careers by having a chance to settle into campus early and to earn course credits during the more low-key summer months.

This optional program offers incoming freshmen the opportunity to earn seven college credits in just five weeks in addition to the chance to experience dorm life, learn all about campus resources and get valuable tips from current SPSU students about making the transition to college.

“Seven credit hours in five weeks? That’s ridiculous – I couldn’t pass that up,” said Joshua Van Meter, one of 29 students who participated this year. “It was well worth giving up five weeks of my summer.”

Van Meter, a graduate of West Forsyth High School in Cumming, said Jump Start guided him in developing a two-year plan to put him on the right track to earn a degree in computer game design and development (CGDD) and gave him a good introduction to the program.

“It’s great to get an early start like this. I’m really glad I did it because I don’t like being new and not knowing anyone or where I’m going,” said Andrea “Andy” Rocca, a graduate of Atlanta Country Day School who plans to study computer science at SPSU.

One of the three courses taken by Jump Start students is a mandatory orientation to the college experience called the Hitchhiker’s Guide to SPSU. The other two courses for students in the General Core Track are English (Freshman Composition) and political science (either American Government or Global Issues). CGDD majors take Programming and Problem Solving 1 and Fundamentals of Game Design.

“This shows a certain level of motivation on the part of students, coming to school in the summer,” said Prof. Carl Snook, a political science lecturer who taught the American Government and Hitchhiker’s Guide courses this summer.

Prof. Sarah Holliday, an assistant professor of mathematics, coordinated this year’s Jump Start program and teaches the Hitchhiker’s Guide course. “We have quantitative and anecdotal data showing that the program aids retention of the students that participate. Last summer, eight of the Jump Start freshmen who are mechatronics engineering majors formed a cohort and are regularly seen together around campus. It’s great that they bonded through Jump Start. This is all about creating community.”

For more information about Jump Start, point your browser to http://www.spsu.edu/jumpstart/.

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