Student Voice: How I Got Ahead at College with a Summer Program
By Kendall Pope, Keene State senior studying Journalism and Public Relations, with a minor in Broadcast Journalism
In the summer of 2013, I had just graduated from Londonderry High School and was anxious for college to start. I was nervous about the course load and how I would be able to handle it my first semester and without getting behind. I wanted to start out strong and be confident that I was capable of completing college-level work.
After reaching out to Keene State College, I was informed about the Links Program that takes place in the summer for first-year students. Three years later, I’m an executive editor for Keene State’s newspaper The Equinox, graduating early, saving money, and creating more free time for myself because of my head start and the time management skills that I learned in the Links program.
Links is a six-week long summer program designed by Keene State’s Aspire Program to help incoming first-year students prepare for college life and course work. According to Keene State College Director of the TRIO Program Kristin Sweeney, most students pursue Links to get a head start on their college careers or to get familiar with college life and campus.
Links is also a great program for student-athletes who want to earn credits to reduce their course load in their athletic season.
Keene State junior and Men’s Basketball player Matt Sherlock said, “Links helped me manage my classes with basketball because it taught me that the easiest way to get things done without having a conflict is to just get your work done as soon as you can. Putting it off until later doesn’t help you, it only hurts. Something could pop up that you weren’t expecting, and it could throw off the way you get your school work done.”
Sherlock continued, “I would 100 percent recommend the Links program to anyone, whether they play sports or not. Students have a chance to get a jumpstart on what it’s really like to be a college student or student-athlete. It’s a big advantage to be on campus learning where your classes are before the year actually starts.”
A student in the Links program will earn nine college credits and complete one of Keene States required writing courses, a college success course and one elective: psychology, public speaking, nutrition, or geography.
One of the main benefits of the program is that it exposes students to Keene States Integrative Studies Program (ISP) before the fall semester. Since Keene State is a liberal arts college, the goal of the ISP program is to get students to take classes outside of their major to broaden their knowledge. The program is also helpful for students who start their first-year undecided on a major and can take a variety of subjects to narrow in on their interests.
Students in the Links program live on campus in the residence halls alongside their fellow classmates, resident assistants (RA) and tutors.
Begin pull-quote…In the summer you see different social dynamics happening, and I thought it was really cool that I could be with first-year students before they were even technically first-years. This group is exciting, they are filled with questions and have more energy. …end pull-quote
“It truly becomes a community,” Sweeney said.
Links Class of ’19 Resident Assistant Hannah Benoit said she had wanted to be an RA during the school year, but as a double major didn’t have the time until she heard of the summer program.
“I thought it would be a really good experience for teaching. In the summer you see different social dynamics happening, and I thought it was really cool that I could be with first-year students before they were even technically first-years,” Benoit said. “This group is exciting, they are filled with questions and have more energy.”
According to Sweeney, Links students are more likely to graduate if they complete Links. In fact, 17 percent of students in Links graduate early. Not to mention Links students also tend to do well academically and average a 3.0 grade point average at graduation.
Applications for the Links program can be found on the Aspire website and are taken on a first come, first served basis until the program begins in June.
The start date is June 26 and ends August 5.