The transition from high school to college is a challenging time for most students. Increased workloads, higher academic standards and complex coursework are just some of the issues that first-year students face. St. Francis recognizes the unique challenges that face our new students and seeks to help them become a successful part of our campus community by offering a variety of services through the Project Access Program.
Project Access is a multi-faceted First-Year Experience (FYE) program designed to nurture and support incoming students by providing them with opportunities to improve their critical writing, critical reading, and critical thinking skills in order to succeed in college and beyond.
Project Access’s mission is to:
- Recognize potential in our students
- Acknowledge and celebrate students’ commitment and hard work
- Present opportunities to enhance students’ college experience
- Provide academic, advising and mentoring support to help students identify and accomplish their goals
Throughout the year, Project Access Students will be invited and strongly encouraged to participate in a number of events meant to enrich their college experience and foster connections between their faculty and each other. Opportunities include:
- Local museum and historical site visits;
- Opportunities for community service;
- Theatrical performances and other cultural experiences.
Additionally, students will be invited to events during the college’s activity periods where they will have a chance to connect with their faculty mentors, advisors, and tutors as well as other important campus resources. Events include:
- Welcome receptions and student/faculty mixers each semester
- Mid-semester “check-ins”
- A Fall semester closing meeting
At the end of the academic year, the program hosts a dinner and reception celebrating Access students’ completion of their first year as college students. Students’ families are encouraged to attend and join in the fun!
Summer Bridge Program
Access students are encouraged to start their careers at SFC by attending a six-week summer program that provides them with skills to meet the challenges of becoming a college student. Students who attend the summer program will benefit by:
- Learning in small class settings
- Working with dedicated faculty
- Growing in a supportive environment
- Creating meaningful relationships
- Participating in off-campus activities
First-Semester Interest Group
The cornerstone of the Project Access program is the First-semester Interest Group (FIG), which links a workshop (SFC 0040) to a course in the college’s core curriculum (history, philosophy, fine arts, etc.) taken in the student’s first semester that develops skills needed to meet the demands of college-level writing and analysis. Access classes are capped at 15 students, allowing faculty the opportunity to provide each student with individualized time and attention. SFC 0040 is designed to assist students in developing their ability to:
- Evaluate texts
- Analyze concepts
- Devise and implement successful learning strategies
- Develop their writing skills across their curriculum
The cost of books, course materials, and any educational field trips are covered for all participants in the program. Eligibility for the course is based on student’s placement test scores. The workshop consists of three hours of weekly instruction. Students in the program are also equipped with individualized tutoring plans with designated tutors in mathematics, the sciences, and the liberal arts.
Access faculty conference with their students multiple times throughout their first year and beyond to evaluate their progress towards their chosen major.
Access students are strongly encouraged to attend weekly tutoring sessions in the college’s Academic Enhancement Center during their first semester. By establishing these vital links between students and resources beyond the classroom the Access program seeks to improve student confidence and results.
Academic advisors working with the Access program help students identify obstacles to their academic development and assist them in creating strategies to overcome those issues. Additionally, Project Access students are invited to participate in both online and in-person workshops to ensure their success.
Project Access maintains a mentoring program made up of peer tutors from the Academic Enhancement Center as well as high-achieving sophomores and juniors from previous Project Access classes. The peer mentor program exists to provide first-year students with a helpful introduction to the many aspects of college life.
Now in its thirteenth year, the program has a proven track record of working with over 1,000 SFC students, providing them with the skills and support to:
- Achieve and maintain strong GPAs
- Choose and declare majors
- Succeed and graduate from SFC
- Create solid career plans following graduation
If you have any questions regarding the Project Access Program, feel free to contact Stefan Spezio, Director of Project Access and the Academic Enhancement Center, at 718.489.5274 or stop by the Center in room 3002.