First-Year Community Scholars Get Summer Head Start
August 3, 2011 – Sixty incoming freshman, including many first-generation college students, are finishing four weeks on campus preparing for the fall semester as part of Georgetown’s Community Scholars Program.
The highly selective program accepts students for the July 9-Aug. 6 session based on academic success, extracurricular achievements, leadership and community service.
Best of the Best
“It’s like showing up to class with the best of the best,” says Adan Gonzalez (C’15) of Dallas about his fellow scholars, many of whom are high school valedictorians, salutatorians and class presidents.
The program includes mandatory workshops, seminars, meetings with academic advisors, a critical reading and writing class, and support on such issues as choosing a major, studying abroad and finding internships.
Heart of Mission
“Community Scholars speaks to the heart of the university’s mission to reach out and identify talented people and provide them access to an excellent education,” says Dennis Williams, associate dean of students and director of the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access. “I see this program as a model of all the good things we do in a holistic Jesuit education.”
While Georgetown has many applicants from highly rated prep schools with high test scores whose families can afford “all the extras in their lives to make them stand out, it’s very easy to focus on one kind of student,” he says.
But at Georgetown, he says, “We stop to remind ourselves of all the other ways students can be excellent.”
Community Scholar Sakeenah Shabazz (C’15) of San Diego says the humanities and writing course she took this summer, combined with enrichment seminars, has been invaluable preparation for the upcoming academic year.
“I received a great education from my high school, but we’ve had the chance to go over things this summer in much more depth, such as Greek literature – from Plato to Antigone,” she says.
Shabazz says math and science have never been her strengths, so she also appreciated an enrichment seminar in chemistry.
“You don’t get a grade for it, but I feel well-prepared for the academic year,” she says.
The students do get credit, however, for the intensive critical reading and writing course that is part of the program.
Jamil Sajjaad (C’15) of Los Angeles says four weeks on campus gives them a familiarity that will keep them from getting lost when classes begin on Aug. 31.
“We have such an advantage being here and knowing where to go on campus a month before classes begin,” he says. “We even have our schedules and know the buildings on campus.”