I was recently reading an article from The Hechinger Report on supports available to first generation students at four year colleges in the United States. The author cited one statistic, in particular, that jumped out at me: Though first generation students are “hardly well represented at competitive four-year institutions…Franklin & Marshall, where some 17% of this year’s freshmen class are first generation students, expects 87 percent will graduate within six years – the same as the general population.” Very cool! I decided to learn more about the ways in which F&M College is invested in helping first generation students to succeed.
In clicking my way around their website, I came across a page outlining F&M’s “Strategic Priorities”, one of which is to “Recruit Extraordinary Student Talent.” Readers, you’ll be happy to know that in working to reach that goal, F&M College has significantly increased the resources available for their need-based financial aid program and they meet the full demonstrated need of all their students. The college has also been working on building relationships with “high-performing school networks, rural schools, and college access programs serving underrepresented students.” Furthermore, and of particular note, is that back in 2011, F&M started a new initiative called the F&M College Prep Program, which is meant to address the issue of undermatching. “What’s undermatching?”, you ask? Excellent question! Dr. Daniel Porterfield, President of F&M College, answers it well, saying:
“If you read the headlines of every major newspaper in America over the past two years, you see the persistent theme of the nation’s undermatching crisis, which is when students don’t apply to the great schools for which their SAT scores and their grades have qualified them for admission.”
“And how does the F&M College Prep program help to address this issue?” Another great question! The short answer is that the program helps to build students’ confidence, especially in terms of what they believe they can achieve academically. The longer answer comes to us in the form of a great video, in which we learn:
“F&M College Prep is a three week summer immersion program that brings together rising high school seniors from all over the country. They take classes with F&M faculty members and they do college-level work, and that confidence allows them to really push the bounds of what they think they can do. 100% of the F&M College Prep graduates have been accepted into college.”
To learn more about how the F&M College Prep program “revs the engines of the college-bound”, click on this link, and to read about the college’s “points of pride” regarding their Next Generation Initiative (of which F&M College Prep is a part), click here. One of the F&M College Prep program participants is quoted in the aforementioned video as saying, “F&M College Prep really helped me to see that those (college) dreams can be a reality.” I would imagine that helping to turn students’ dreams into reality is something of which Franklin & Marshall College is most proud!