Higher Ed Prep Starts Early for the College Success Academy

High school juniors in the Boston area who are just beginning to prepare for their SATs seem downright lazy compared to the young, bright-eyed pupils of the College Success Academy. In the lecture halls of Suffolk University, students as young as ten years old are already busy accelerating their education and picking up good study habits in the hopes of one day attending (and graduating from) a good college, according to an article published in The Boston Globe.

The College Success Academy is part of Steppingstone Academy, a 14-month program that actively prepares students for rigorous Boston private and public school entrance examinations. The new College Success Academy, however, focuses on a group of soon-to-be-fifth-graders and intends to stay with the select students until the day they graduate from high school and launch their college careers.

Pupils of the academy already know their academic goals. “I want to go to college and get a scholarship to like Harvard because I know it’s the best college in the world," 10-year-old Kasey Castillo told The Boston Globe.

During the summer, the academy hosts six weeks of classes at Suffolk University. This university setting was chosen to show the children that being in college is an attainable goal, Barry Brown, the president and provost of Suffolk, told the Boston Globe. However, it’s not all just intense study sessions – after all, children are still children and should be allowed to do something fun during the summer, even if it does happen to be educational. Every Friday, the students take a field trip and experience a hands-on activity that is designed to expose them to new things and ideas. For example, one Friday field trip was spent at the Institute of Contemporary Art. After the summer ends, the program will have students checking in for afterschool and weekend sessions in order to keep the learning process going, as well to address any problem areas the pupils may have.

Students were chosen based on a variety of factors, including school performance, financial need, and teacher recommendations. The free program was designed to give a boost to students who may not have otherwise had access to a tutoring and mentorship program due to financial restraints, allowing them a chance to make it to college and earn a degree. Their odds of success are high as well, judging from Steppingstone’s history. A mere 35.5% of overall Boston public school graduates earn a college degree in four years, whereas a whopping 80% of Steppingstone scholars do. While the College Success Academy is brand new and therefore has yet to produce any concrete results or successes, the odds are with the young pupils.

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