The Academic Success Program is a special admissions program for students who do not meet current admissions criteria but who still show the potential to succeed in college.
Students admitted to the program complete a five week summer session to assist them in developing academic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. In addition, the program provides academic support through academic advising, tutoring, mentoring and academic monitoring, and counseling. Students who successfully complete the summer session enter the fall semester with increased academic confidence and familiarity with the campus culture and university procedures.
Israeel Samir – current WCU student
Israeel is studying Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Spanish and a minor in French.
My name is Israeel Samir, and I started school at West Chester in the summer of 2016 as a part of the Academic Development Program (ADP), now called, Academic Success Program (ASP). I am from a low-income family situated in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. None of my siblings (save one older sister of mine) sought to further their level of education, whether from a vocational school or university. I am the first degree-seeking male among four other boys and with this knowledge, the idea of college was very intimidating.
I was 18 years old when I applied to WCU and did not immediately get accepted which brought doubt in my mind if I even qualified to dare sit among such people of heightened thinking and ability. There was an alternative, the 5-week Academic Development Program I could participate in. I did not know it at the time, but I had just embarked on a career-altering journey. Writing this letter as a 23-year-old student at West Chester, I can say confidently that I am a better student and citizen because of the Academic Success Program.
Upon being accepted into the program, I was very stubborn in adapting to life at college. I was not at all prepared for college and what it demands of the student: long hours studying, competitiveness, extended research, networking, reading etc. These are all qualities and skills that high school (especially my own) does a poor job at preparing students for. These are all qualities and skills I lacked, and that ASP taught me to acquire before the real spectacle began (Fall semester). Because of the program, I was able to have a reference point or baseline to go back to during the 15-week semester and future semesters. I did not feel like I was left to myself.
ASP Volunteers and Staff
There are two people from that life-changing summer who are stained into my memory. One volunteer R.A., Malik and best of all John B. Craig – Director of the Academic Success Program. I came to Malik one morning wanting to leave the program and was very ardent in discontinuing, even forfeiting my spot as a student at WCU. Malik brought me to Dr. Craig to talk over my frustrations and to minimize a 10-page story into simply four words: he saved my career.
I have been in close communication with Dr. Craig since 2016 and he has become my life coach. Every advice academically, professionally, and socially he has been very generous in giving. He has directed me through college and through getting me adapted to being a college student. His insights and experience are one of a kind and have shaped my outlook on life for the better – especially demonstrating to me a student of a growth mindset. His qualities of patience, perseverance, and integrity are few and far between. It is because of people like Malik who knew what to do with a student reluctant to finish and a faculty like Dr. Craig who can 'keep the faith' that ASP is a high recommendation for students like me.
I think that ASP is a good program for students who know they want to further their academic career but are confused on the steps or are uncomfortable in the academic space. ASP gave me a chance and a chance is typically what a students like me are asking for. ASP gives voices to students whose parents do not hold fancy office jobs. Students who come from humble beginnings and modest incomes who dream to sit with C-suite professionals or to become the next great educator. These are the chances that ASP has given me, and I now know what to do with the information and knowledge acquired to further my professional and academic career.
Dr. Tiffany Lane - WCU graduate, class of 2005
Dr. Lane currently works as an Associate Professor and the BSW Program Coordinator in the College of Health and Human Services, School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Wilmington, N.C.
I was accepted into the Academic Success Program (formerly the Academic Development Program) in the Spring of 2000 and was somewhat anxious about what was to come but pleasantly surprised. I entered the program in the summer of 2000. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and it was the foundation for my successful academic career. The program prepared me academically and socially. I gained the skills needed to embark on my college career and a sense of community and social supports. The program made sure that I would be successful at WCU. Because of the opportunities and confidence that the ASP provided me, I continued my graduate studies at Howard University and then Morgan State University. I am forever grateful for the ASP and wish it continued success.
Dr. Kaitlyn Machcinski – WCU graduate, Class of 2014
Dr. Machcinski came into the program at WCU in the summer of 2010. She graduated with a B.A. in History with a Teacher Certification. She is currently employed at West Chester University as the Associate Director of the Learning Assistance & Resource Center and the Writing Center.
The Academic Development Program helped me realize my potential. Before college, I was always an average student. This program was the first time I succeeded in school. I became a tutor with the program, and the skills I learned from ADP and tutoring set me up for success as a teacher and helped me continue my education. I received a Master of Arts in Education from Villanova University three years after graduating from WCU. I currently work at WCU and with the program as Associate Director of the Leaning Assistance and Resource Center. All the faculty and staff continue to support me in my academics as I study developmental education in my doctoral program. Every time Dr. Craig introduces me to someone on campus, he says, 'the future Dr. Machcinski” because I am in the last year of my program. The faculty of that program are so proud of me, and it has helped motivate me through my current program. It has been over a decade since I was in ADP, and they still show me the same enthusiasm as they did when I was an undergraduate!
David Elison – WCU graduate, Class of 2019
David came into the program in Summer, 2015. He graduated in 2019 with a B.S. in Marketing and a cumulative GPA of 3.072. He is currently employed as a professional recruiter with Insight Global in Philadelphia, PA.
My name is David Elison, and I started the ADP program back in the summer of 2015 and graduated in the Spring of 2019. I was able to complete college in four years and the ADP program really helped me find who I was as an individual to help me further my education and career. I am happy that I was able to take the ADP opportunity while it was there and without the program I would not be the individual who I am today. The program really helped me adapt to the college atmosphere and gave me a head start in college before the fall semester started. The ADP team was very helpful and kind throughout the whole process and I still have friends to this day from the program. Once college started in the fall, I felt like I was ready to go with all of the support from the summer and hit the ground running. In fact, that is exactly what I did! I was able to excel as a marketing major at West Chester and graduated with a 3.0 and received a full-time job opportunity as a professional recruiter. Since then, I am making my company $24,000.00 a week in revenue, and I will soon be clearing six figures within the next month at the age of 25. I am happy where I am in my career right now and without the help of the ADP at West Chester, I would not be the guy I am today. If I were to do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing. I am extremely happy about the ADP program and what they are able to provide for each of their students as a whole. I originally didn't get into West Chester, but then I applied for the ADP program, which helped me get into West Chester so I could live my dream as a college student.
Hailey Mace – current WCU student
Hailey is a current student who came into the program in Summer, 2019. She is currently majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Women's and Gender Studies and has a cumulative GPA of 3.197.
My name is Hailey Mace, and I am a sophomore at the West Chester University of Pennsylvania. I currently major in Criminal Justice with a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. ACT 101 has supported my college success in many ways. Without ACT 101 I wouldn't have been able to attend the summer program at West Chester. This program enabled me to find something I'm passionate about and set higher goals for myself than those that I had in mind already. I would be struggling to cover leftover expenses if it wasn't for ACT 101. It is very important for ACT 101 to consistently receive funding because this program enables people who can't afford college on their own to attend a university and achieve goals they may have believed to be impossible. It gives students a gateway to great achievement. The pandemic has taken a toll on college students' lives as well as other people. Things have become so much pricier than what they were pre-pandemic, so money was needed to go towards necessities such as food. If ACT 101 funding is increased the financial burden of having to pay for things out of pocket won't feel as heavy to people who receive ACT 101.