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A First Taste of College Helps Guide High School Students Into the Future

Students in a group photo outside at Camp College on the SUNY Geneseo campus.

For most high school students, summer is a time for relaxation and fun in the sun. For others, it is about exploration and looking towards the future. An amazing opportunity becomes available in New York for this second group in Camp College.

Camp College was founded in 1999 by the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC) and nationally recognized as a leading example for a pre-college experience. It is all about understanding the wide range of post-secondary options throughout New York State.

Students are brought in by bus from all over to spend a fun-filled weekend learning about college admissions, application process, financial aid, opportunity programs, and so much more. And this year was the first time in Camp College history that the program was hosted by two SUNY campuses in one summer, as SUNY Potsdam hosted Camp College in 2017, 2016, 2014, 2008, 2007 and SUNY Delhi hosted it in 2015.

This year, SUNY Geneseo and SUNY Oswego took over hosting duties, which were lead by two incredible co-directors, Beverly Santos and Amber Long. Counselors at Camp College come from all different backgrounds, such as admissions, high school teachers, social workers, administrators, and others. These are volunteer positions, and everyone is required to attend mandatory training, which helps the counselors provide the best experience possible to student attendees. They are also responsible for providing a safe, productive, and positive learning experience for all students, which is demonstrated by matching t-shirts worn by both students and mentors the entire weekend. It represents solidarity for college access and equity to all.

High school students pose for a picture on the steps of a building on the SUNY Oswego campus.The first camp college was at SUNY Oswego from July 68. SUNY Oswego welcomed about 180 high school students from New York City, Long Island, and the North Country. “Many of these students would be the first in their families to attend college, with some going on their first-ever journey away from home,” said Emmanuel Cruz, SUNY Oswego’s assistant director for admissions in New York City and a Camp College mentor for several years on other campuses.

The second session was at SUNY Geneseo from August 35. SUNY Geneseo welcomed 80 students who eager to explore the campus and learn about SUNY and the college application process. Our very own Mark Sanders, assistant director of enrollment management & student success at SUNY System Administration, participated as a mentor. In addition, he tabled at the college fair representing the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP).

“These students were engaging and eager to learn about the college-going process. More importantly, they leave with a sense of responsibility and purpose that they can go to college,” said Sanders. “There is a college or a program for everyone that provides endless opportunities and information to guide them appropriately. To have this program at two SUNY campuses is a proud and impactful moment.”

With an introduction under their belts, the next step for these students is to apply and enroll at a SUNY school!

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    Written by Taras Kufel

    Taras Kufel is the Manager of Digital Engagement at the State University of New York.

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