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 Tuesday, July 14, 2009 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Pre-Collegiate Development Program paves way for success
by Dana Silva, sophomore, School of Journalism and Mass Communication

In order to increase the success of prospective college students, the CU-Boulder Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE) established the Pre-Collegiate Development Program (PCDP). This institutionally-funded program was started in 1983 as a highly intensive academic enhancement tool designed for middle and high school students who are striving to become first-generation college students.

“PCDP is an academic boot camp made to give students the skills they need to be successful in college,” said Theresa Manchego, assistant director of PCDP. To be eligible for any program PCDP has to offer, students must be first-generation college candidates who attend a target middle or high school and have GPAs of at least 2.75. Applications can be found at any of the target schools.

The program runs year-round to include weekend workshops and Saturday Academies classes during the school year, as well as a residential academic program in the summer. Saturday Academies offer students the opportunity to develop their abilities in areas such as ACT preparation, leadership skills and study resources. “The Saturday Academies are meant to prepare students for the vigorous education that comes with college,” said Manchego. “They also help with things like admissions, financial aid applications and career searching.”

The summer program is designed to give upcoming seniors a firsthand experience of college life. Around 600-800 students come together on campus to explore college preparatory topics like mathematics, science and English. “The program gives students a chance to learn what college will really be like,” Manchego said. “They get to live in the dorms, eat in the dining centers and attend college-level classes.”

The curriculum of PCDP has proven to be successful. The majority of participants improve academically and continue on to higher education in colleges nationwide. “We’ve had children who started in the program as average students leave with an admission to colleges not only in Colorado, but also places like Stanford and Brown,” said Manchego.

PCDP’s success has not gone unnoticed. Other regions in the United States have begun to use the organization as a model to start similar programs for students everywhere. “We have received tons of inquiries for assistance with other pre-collegiate programs across the nation,”Manchego said.

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