Emma M., Penn State Abington first-year student, participated in the Pathway to Summer Start Success (PaSSS) in summer 2017.
PaSSS is one the Open Doors programs that help entering students make the transition to college the summer before their first year, as well as the summer between their first and sophomore years.
The Pathway to Success: Summer Start (PaSSS) program lived up to its name for Penn State Abington first-year student Emma M. ’21. Before most first-year students even set foot in a class, she earned six credits and money to support herself.
As a PaSSS student, Emma received a $1500 tuition scholarship toward summer classes plus $400 stipend for books and supplies. Students in the program are guaranteed summer employment on campus.
She enrolled in two classes, English and Communication Arts & Sciences, last summer and worked in the College’s University Relations office as an administrative assistant and photographer. There were intangible benefits, too.
“I got into the rhythm of the school year ahead of the other freshman, and I knew what it was like to take a college class,” she said. “I got to know campus and things like where to go when I had questions.”
“Working in University Relations,” she continued, “gave me a leg up with working in an office. I learned how to be professional and how to perform general office tasks.”
Emma reaped the benefits of the connections she made through the summer PaSSS program throughout her first year. Her impressive work ethic led to continued employment in University Relations as a Marketing Communications Student Worker, editing for the web and taking photos.
Today, Emma lives in the new residence hall, the Lions Gate, and — as a first-year student — earned a coveted place on the THON Executive Board. She attributes much of her success to PaSSS.
“I was prepared, and halfway into college by the time the fall semester started,” Emma said. “PaSSS was the perfect transition.”
What is PaSSS?
The Pathway to Success: Summer Start (PaSSS) is one program of the Open Doors scholarship at Penn State Abington. The goal of PaSSS is to improve student retention, increase student persistence toward graduation, and decrease time to graduation.
Incoming freshman with demonstrated financial need and accepted into PaSSS receive $250 per credit toward summer courses (up to six credits) and a $400 book fee and supplies stipend. Students in the program are guaranteed on campus employment as well.
The awards may be eligible for a one-time renewal the following summer.