SMU helps prepare KIPP students for college

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Students participating in the KIPP at SMU program pose for a photo. Photo credit: Ryan Miller


Every summer, SMU students volunteer their time to help rising junior and senior high school students in the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) prepare for college success. KIPP students participate in a five-week program where they live on the SMU campus, take two college-level courses with University faculty, earn college credit and live the life of a college kid.

In addition, students experience volunteerism with community service projects on weekends. By the end of the program, KIPP students are expected to know what it takes for a successful transition into college life.

Joe Carreon, who is the coordinator for student success in the office of the provost, said KIPP at SMU began in the summer of 2013.

“In 2013, SMU invited eight students to be KIPP at SMU participants. We hope to increase that number slightly. [This] summer, SMU will welcome its second KIPP at SMU cohort. SMU partnered with KIPP because both entities wanted to do more in addressing the college persistence challenges facing low-income families and first-generation college students,” Carreon said.

The SMU admission team is currently reviewing applications and in March, KIPP at SMU should know if any of the seniors who participated in the program last summer are admitted. In May, Carreón said he will know which former participants are attending SMU.

KIPP is a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools that prepares students in underserved communities for success in college and in life. There are currently 141 KIPP schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia serving 50,000 students. More than 86 percent of KIPP’s students are from low-income families and eligible for the federal free or reduced-price meals program, and 95 percent are African American or Latino. Nationally, more than 90 percent of KIPP middle school students have graduated high school and more than 80 percent of KIPP alumni have gone on to college.

Two SMU students are hired to serve as program directors and provide supervision and programming throughout the students’ stay. Incentives includes a $1,200 stipend, a single room in a residence hall, up to three credit hours of tuition for summer I or summer II.

This year, the program runs from July 5 to Aug 5. Applications are due Thursday. Contact Joe Carreon for more information.

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