First launched by JoAnn K. May nearly 40 years ago, the SummerStart program has fueled the success of thousands of Syracuse University students. Motivated to enhance unique student experiences within academics, campus life, community building, and more, faculty and staff work to help incoming students achieve personal and learning success. engaging across differences, during their time at Syracuse University and beyond.
Leading SummerStart since 2021 is Kal Srinivas, Ph.D., Director of Student Retention and Success, and Alison Fredericks Program Manager in Student Outreach and Retention (SOaR).
From building inclusion to supporting international student participation and more, Srinivas and Fredericks have been busy moving SummerStart forward into the future. The team is driven by the goals of inviting the campus community to not only learn more about the importance of the program, but also the emphasis on supporting the whole student and their needs. individuals before the start of their first year of university.
“A first of many inclusive campus experiences, SummerStart cultivates a mindset of community, support and empowerment, which when combined ultimately works to break down barriers and lead to student success. “, says Srinivas. “This approach brings a strong correlation of positive first-year student retention. In 2021, this included a 93% program completion rate of students with good academic standing and a 100% rate of students continuing their studies through the fall semester. When considered over a longer period of school perseverance, success is also reflected in six-year graduation rates. However, SummerStart requires continued expansion of cross-campus collaboration and communication to continue to build on this success.
A closer look at the performance of the 2021 cohort in the following fall semester demonstrated the need for enhanced support for college students that continues throughout the first semester of college. To address this need for support, the SOaR team applied for and was awarded a SOURCE research grant. The grant will fund three undergraduate research assistant positions, who will be responsible for reviewing Syracuse University’s SummerStart program, conducting research on the program at other universities, and offering recommendations for support future program changes. Additionally, they will provide academic mentoring throughout the fall to further help students stay on track.
The SummerStart experience
The six-week SummerStart program meets students where they are and helps make connections between their unique goals, increased independence, campus resources, and experiences throughout the summer leading up to the fall semester.
“A must-do experience if you want to get a head start on the college experience. Benefits extend to friend groups, staff networking, campus membership and more. I am grateful to have been part of such a diverse and supportive program that introduced me to so much of what Syracuse University has to offer,” says Jose Venegas ’25.
Applications open each spring and highlights of the SummerStart program experience include the following:
- Individualized support.
- The possibility of obtaining credits from 7 to 9 degrees.
- Building a community with faculty, staff and peers.
- Increased acclimatization time to campus life and residential life.
- Opportunities to build trust.
Supporting student success through SummerStart
SummerStart 2022 students will begin arriving on campus the first weekend in July and quickly dive into a robust SummerStart schedule. The campus community is encouraged to email SummerStart or call 315.443.1031 for more information and to learn about opportunities to support SummerStart.