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For two decades the Exploring Transfer (ET) program at Vassar College has introduced community college students to the academic rigor and stimulating environment of a four-year liberal arts college through an intensive, five-week summer program on the Vassar campus in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Since 2005, ET at Vassar has generously expanded this opportunity to qualifying students from Maine’s Community Colleges. Each student who is selected to participate receives a scholarship that covers tuition, room, board, books and supplies. The Maine Community College System provides assistance with travel to and from Vassar.
Each ET session includes three specially designed courses, usually interdisciplinary in nature. The courses are co-taught by a Vassar and a community college professor, and carry college credit. Students live in a residence hall on campus and are encouraged to work and study in a mutually-supportive, collaborative environment.
Many ET graduates have gone on to complete bachelor’s degrees at selective colleges and universities, including Yale, Columbia, Smith, Middlebury and Vassar, among others. Of the 600+ students who have participated in Exploring Transfer, over 80% have transferred to four-year institutions.
Read about one student's experience BobieLynn Fisher, SMCC, a 2010 participant.
After the ET program I felt like I could do anything I put my mind to. It was extremely difficult at times, but I wouldn't take back the experience for the world.
We got a taste of ‘something more’ academically, and it was most satisfying....Most of my fellow Vassar students and I decided we would go on to earn our bachelor's degrees, seeking the same level of academic excellence that Vassar offers. It was one of the greatest and most challenging experiences of my life and I would do it all again in a New York minute.
Of the 600+ students who have participated in Exploring Transfer, over 80% have transferred to four-year institutions.
The ET program is designed to enhance transfer opportunities for community college students who otherwise might not consider continuing their education at a competitive four-year college. The program serves primarily first-generation college students and those from under-represented groups and disadvantaged backgrounds. ET encourages applications from students of all ages, and from diverse backgrounds. Applicants may be enrolled in an associate degree, certificate or diploma program in any discipline.
The ET application includes a personal essay, college transcripts, and two faculty evaluations. Throughout the application process, students work with an advisor to ensure that their applications are complete and competitive. The application deadline for the 2014 summer session is March 24, 2014. Applications are reviewed by a selection committee at ET/Vassar.
Maine Community College Contacts (please contact the coordinator at your college):
Central Maine Community College
Eastern Maine Community College
Kennebec Valley Community College
Northern Maine Community College
Southern Maine Community College
Washington County Community College
York County Community College
Interested in talking with a Maine student who has participated in Exploring Transfer? Ask your college ET Contact (above) for a referral.
ET/Vassar Program Contacts
ET helped me to realize that I am capable of attaining just about anything I want. I know that I have what it takes to go to a four year school and do well. My experience in ET also helped me to decide that I want more than just an undergraduate education; I would like to do graduate work as well. I am in the process of applying to several four year colleges, ones that I would have never thought that I could attend. I had never dreamed of attending a college like Vassar. Now I have the confidence to aim high and apply to such prestigious schools as Vassar and Smith College.
Stephanie Roten, KVCC