University of Delaware

Undergrad Success

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Owen Hummer and Curtis Robinson

Owen Hummer ’15, an academic peer staff member, works with Newark High School senior, Curtis Robinson, on an admissions essay.

This past summer, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions led two programs, the College Readiness Scholars Institute (CRSI) and UD Scholars, to specifically provide historically underrepresented students with tools that are essential for academic and social success in a collegiate environment.

Since 2013, the College Readiness Scholars Institute (CRSI) has partnered with the Christina School District to provide high school juniors and seniors with a rigorous and immersive academic experience for two weeks. Throughout the program, 12 students successfully attended daily academic courses such as college math, college essay writing, and a University Studies course and required study sessions. Students also attended sessions that exposed them to resources available to them in a collegiate environment such as the Center for Black Culture, McNair Scholars, and the Office of Student Services. They were involved in small group activities designed to reflect and share their experiences with one another. Scholars and program staff ate each meal together, as well as evening and weekend activities. The program concluded on Friday, August 7th with a leadership conference throughout the day and a closing ceremony, where Dr. Henderson provided the keynote address. This life-changing program has successfully served 71 Christina School District students, who have an 81.3% college matriculation rate and a 44% attendance rate through the University of Delaware.

Jeffrey Attakorah and Jackelyn Vilches-Santana

Jeffrey Attakorah ’18, a peer staff member, assists Jackelyn Vilches-Santana, a Glasgow High School senior.

The UD Scholars program, which was developed by Dr. Douglas Zander, Director of Admissions, and Dr. Jose Aviles, former Director of Admissions, assists incoming college freshman from historically underrepresented groups, who have demonstrated the potential for college success despite challenges in preparation.  The program provides tools that are vital to long-term success at the University of Delaware. For two weeks just prior to the start of this fall semester, 31 students attended rigorous college seminars and participated in exposure activities to resources, like NUCLEUS and the University Studies program, to help them be successful at UD. They also attended small group sessions to reflect on their academic and personal journey with professional admissions and staff from the College of Education. In the evenings, all of the students participated in evening activities that included a talent show featuring peer staff members and scholars. The program concluded on August 28th. Each of the 31 students successfully completed the program and were provided with formal admittance letters to the Newark campus for the Fall 2015 semester. The first cohort of 33 students began in fall 2014, and 29 of those students returned this fall — a retention rate that mirrors that of the University.

Nine of those students achieved Deans List recognition in their first semester, and 6 more achieved Deans List recognition in the spring.  This innovative program and the students it serves have received positive recognition from the University and was the subject of a recent story on Philadelphia’s NPR outlet, WHYY.