High Schoolers Get a Taste of College Life
Fifty high-achieving students take part in the Summer College at Caldwell.
When Khaliyah Legette of Teaneck High returns to school this fall, she will know much more about college life than most of her high school classmates.
Legette is one of 50 high-achieving students who were selected to take part in the Summer College at Caldwell (SCAC) program, which focused intensely on science, math and medicine.
“It was eye-opening,” she said. “It reassured me that this is what I want to do.” The students, who will be high school seniors in September and will be the first in their families to attend college, lived on campus for three weeks.
“It was intense and a lot of work,” said Jonathan Yakubov of Elizabeth High School. At the same time, it was good to be able to interact with a professor and “know what it is like to be a college student,” he said.
The students were honored at a closing celebration on July 27. Caldwell College President Dr. Nancy H. Blattner praised them for their hard work and their final projects, which included research in solar energy, tidal power, caffeine, morphine, green chemistry, geothermal energy and much more.
SCAC is a three-credit program with a balance of intensive academics and field trips. The program also offers workshops on aspects of college life, including the financial aid process, the college search, SAT test-taking strategies and conflict resolution.
Amber Griffin of Matawan Regional High School said the session on college applications was a big help.
“I’m so prepared to apply,” she said.
Dr. Lisa DiBisceglie, associate dean of external partnerships at Caldwell College, said it was amazing to see how hardworking and committed the students were to their studies and research projects.
“These students were highly interested in preparing for college,” she said. “This was serious business for them. It was moving to see how appreciative they were of the opportunity. By the end of the program, they had a whole group of new friends from throughout the state of New Jersey.”
Students were inspired by guest speaker Dr. Claudia Tolentino Cadet, a neonatologist in New York City,who emphasized hard work, determination and perseverance.
“She gave us hope,” said Sevani Robinson of Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School in Jersey City.
“I could relate to her in so many ways,” said Stephanie Nunez of Bergen County Technical High School. “She encouraged us to give it our all.”
The college professors enjoyed working with high school students. “It was a lot of fun to watch the students grow in ability and maturity,” said Angela Scimone, Ph.D., professor of chemistry.
Of course, there was the lighter side of college life too, like playing dodge ball at night with the entire gang.
Bryan Salazar of Plainfield High School enjoyed the independence and experiencing what college life was like, including “doing your own laundry and waking up early.”
Students agreed that they were heading home with a wider world view, having made friends from diverse backgrounds and places throughout New Jersey.
“It was really good to meet people from all over the state,” said Sara Franken of Belleville. “I don’t want to go home.”
This is the second year that Caldwell College has offered the program, which is funded by a College Access Challenge Grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education.
This story was provided by Caldwell College.