Record-Breaking Number of Students Sign Up This Year For CUNY’s Summer Skills Immersion Program

A record number of students are enrolled in The City University of New York’s Prefreshman Summer Skills Immersion Program this year.

“This is the largest such pre-college program in the country. It reflects CUNY’s long-standing commitment to helping students start the semester fully prepared for college-level work,” said CUNY Interim Chancellor Christoph M. Kimmich.

Close to 17,000 students are participating in programs that are offered during the day, evenings and on weekends on CUNY’s eleven senior college and six community college campuses. Another thousand students are expected to sign up by the end of the summer.

All programs offer instruction in reading comprehension, writing, mathematics and English as a Second Language. They are for students who have been acceptedas freshmen but who have not passed all of CUNY’s Skills Assessment Tests.

The summer immersion program will help many prospective CUNY students qualify for the senior colleges.

Results on the skills tests among regular entering senior college freshmen in 1998 were impressive.

  • In math almost 88% passed math at the end of their summer program.
  • 80% passed reading.
  • Almost 70% passed the writing retest at the end of their summer program.
  • Another 25% improved so that they would be able to pass writing with one semester of extra work and would be eligible this year for a “Prelude to Success” program.
  • Over all, about 95% of both senior and community college prefreshmen summer students either complete remedial work or move to the next level of remedial work in the subject area in which they took summer classes.

The University’s summer skills immersion program began as a small pilot program in 1985 with 500 students. By 1989 it had grown to 7,000 students. Last year more than 15,000 students wereenrolled. This year, in addition to the usual six-week program in July and August, one was offered in June and a shorter program will be held at the end of August for students who register late for the fall semester, in order to accommodate the demand.

The immersion programs use innovative pedagogy and curriculum, including computer- assisted instruction; linkage of skills development and strong academic content such as literature in reading and writing classes to focus on critical thinking and reading strategies; and special sections for ESL students linked with native speaker sections to promote cultural exchange and help mainstream ESL students. New emphases this year are on college orientation and library research skills using print and Internet sources.