High school seniors immerse themselves in college life with new program at SLCC

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LAFAYETTE, La. (Daily Advertiser)- Fourteen soon-to-be high school seniors are getting immersed in college life this summer. They’ll finish in six weeks with three college credits, ACT prep and experience on a college campus under their belts.

The “College Immersion” program at South Louisiana Community College kicked off Tuesday to help students in the federal GEAR UP program become better prepared for life after graduation — and at no cost to the student.

The students are coming from four Lafayette-area high schools — from Acadiana, Carencro, Lafayette and Northside — to take class on the main SLCC campus three mornings a week.

Traci Aucoin, GEAR UP project director for the Lafayette Parish School System, said college experience early on increases students’ chances of entering and completing some post-secondary education, “which is almost a requirement in today’s economy.”

Students’ time is split between an ACT prep boot camp and a freshman-level course, “first-year student experience seminar,” that focuses on things like study skills, time management and college expectations, said Caronda Bean, director of dual enrollment at SLCC.

“Basically, we’re about to become seniors, and it’s about how to be ready for college before we actually get to college,” Northside High student Jonaisha Pennamon said.

She and friend Victoria Sam appreciate the exposure now rather than when they get to college, because they know they’ll be nervous then, they said.

Plus, “college is a lot less structured (than high school),” Aucoin pointed out. “They need to be prepared with a skill set.”

The program also coordinates with SLCC’s Career Center to get students familiar with the job market. 

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