Incoming Students Successfully Complete EOF Summer Institute

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By Tom McLaughlin

With dreams of becoming a pediatric surgeon, Jacob Tucci knows that he has many years of education still ahead of him. But it’s not just a matter of time, says the first-year Rutgers University–Camden student.

“You should never look at school like that,” says Tucci, a pre-med student majoring in biology. “I have been given a great opportunity to learn a lot from my professors and fellow students. I am on track for medical school and plan to take every opportunity that is front of me over the next four years. That’s what you have to do if you want to excel at anything in life.”

Putting his words into action, Tucci made the most of his opportunity this summer, as he was one of 43 incoming Rutgers–Camden students who successfully completed the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Summer Institute on campus.

EOF-2The five-week residential program, required for all first-year students in the EOF program – a pathway for low-income and first-generation students to enter college – enables them to earn six college credits, while introducing them to the necessary academic skills, as well as the socio-emotional demands, of pursuing a higher degree.

“The EOF Summer Institute provides students with an opportunity to get a jumpstart on their college career,” says Marsha Besong, director of the EOF program at Rutgers–Camden. “Students bond with their classmates, develop positive relationships with Rutgers–Camden faculty and staff, and develop time-management skills, study skills, and strategies to meet their goals.”

The students took mathematics and English courses or – in the case of two students who had already met these requirements – an introductory course in childhood studies. In addition, they participated in a freshman seminar course, which included a research project on leadership focusing on an important leader. The students then presented their research in an informative poster session as part of the closing ceremony.

As Besong explains, the students also benefited from the opportunity to take an assessment of their awareness and use of learning and study strategies. The assessment, which focuses on both implicit and explicit thoughts, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs of successful learning, provides students with a deeper knowledge of the skills that they need to enhance in order to be successful in college.

For Tucci, he now knows better what to expect – and what is expected of him – upon beginning his classes at Rutgers–Camden.

“In order to move on in life, you will have to take small steps,” says Tucci, a graduate of Haddon Heights High School. “No one is perfect and that’s okay. In order to get better, you will have to work together with others as a team and get out of your comfort zone. If you fall, you have to get back up and keep going at whatever you are trying to achieve in life.”

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