The Educational Opportunity Program is a game changer. We’ve heard many stories of students that have earned a college degree, who may not have otherwise been offered admission, thanks to the EOP. After overcoming many challenges, all of those students went on to find more success in their lives after college. But just as interesting as past students is to hear from current students who are in the middle of their journey to college success. What is the EOP doing for today’s students?
Davinah McCrimmon is a second year Educational Opportunity Program student at Morrisville State College. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY and attending Brooklyn High School of the Arts, Davinah has pushed herself out of her comfort zone. At Morrisville, she is pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administration where she hopes to one day run her own business.
During her short time in college, Davinah has taken on a variety of leadership roles in her first year at Morrisville, including becoming a representative on the EOP Advisory Board, a peer mentor, and a work study in the Student Activities Office. She was also involved with the Caribbean American Student Union where she assisted in planning events for the student body.
In the classroom Davinah has excelled. She has achieved a 4.0 GPA and made the President’s List in her first semester. She then followed up her fall semester with a 3.86 GPA and Dean’s List in Spring 2017. In her second year Davinah will add more leadership roles to her resume including Student Government Organization Vice President, Residential Assistant for incoming first year students, and EOP Summer Pre-College Institute Teaching Assistant.
So how is this all possible? Through the support services offered in the program. Students who are admitted to the program receive academic, career, and personal counseling; tutoring and supplemental instruction, and financial aid for student expenses like books and school supplies.
According to Davinah, EOP has made a huge difference in both her life and academic career. “As a college student I am often stressed, but with EOP I know there is always a listening ear and counselors to offer advice,” she says. “Having someone to guide and motivate me only makes me better. I never get the chance to give up on myself because someone is always there to lift my spirits and encourage me to do my best. I have my own family, but I also have an EOP family at school that regular admission students wish they had.”
It’s not just academic support that the EOP gives students like Davinah. With a welcoming environment, EOP offers a variety of resources that help students get through the challenges they face in college successfully, such as tutoring services for classes students may struggle in and money to help offset the cost of books. EOP also helps students with understanding and completing financial aid forms and provides an unbreakable bond that some students do not have at home. Last but not least, students are given advice and consultations about life and academic struggles.
The challenges that students face may be similar as a collective group, but are quite unique to the individual. Davinah knows this first hand, as she looks back on her first year and a struggle she had in her Macroeconomics course. “I begged my counselors to let me drop the class but they would not. They allowed me to grow and figure things out instead of giving up when times were tough. I remember going to visit my counselor after I got my first ‘C’, with red eyes because I cried right after class. They told me to try tutoring and helped me better organize my time. They literally sat with me while I complained and planned specific times I would study and go to tutoring. In the end, I brought my grade up to an ‘A’ but without them; I do not think I would have earned that grade.”
This is a great example of the personal support that can help a student of the EOP program overcome the challenges of college life. Like the EOP students before her, Davinah recognizes the opportunity she has received.
“College is what you make it. You do not have to attend an Ivy League school in order to get a worthwhile education. Choose schools with an open mind and for every pick you doubt, have a backup school just in case. Also, apply for EOP – you will never feel alone. Go to college and take part in as much as possible. Do not do the same things you did in high school, grow and do better.”
Taras Kufel is the Manager of Digital Engagement at the State University of New York.