For the first time since 2019, students gathered in person on the Ramapo College campus for the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Summer Studies Institute. The Institute is a five-week program where highly motivated incoming first-year students who exhibit the potential for success, and who come from families/communities disadvantaged by low income and/or a lack of access to quality educational preparation necessary to attend college, receive an immersive introduction to the college experience.
Seventy-five EOF Scholars, representing 14 counties throughout New Jersey, enrolled in credit-bearing classes in either Critical Reading and Writing or Social Science Inquiry, and enjoyed on-campus housing and meals from July 10 to August 11. At Ramapo, the Institute is free to participants thanks to institutional and state support. Students who successfully complete the EOF Summer Studies Institute also qualify for up to $20,000 in scholarship through the College to support their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.
New Jersey Assemblywoman Linda Carter (District 22) was a special guest to the program, lending advice to participants and discussing the importance of service. “Meeting with the EOF students at Ramapo College was a wonderful experience. As an educator, teaching and engaging students is a passion, I hold near and dear,” said Assemblywoman Carter. “There is so much admiration to be held for the perseverance of our students, especially given the challenges they have faced during the COVID pandemic. It was an honor to have the opportunity to meet with them. I hope more of my colleagues and others are encouraged to join me in supporting the endeavors of New Jersey’s students to achieve their goals.”
While on campus, the students worked alongside faculty, tutors, mentors, and advisors to adjust to collegiate life. “It is energizing and inspiring to welcome to campus our incoming EOF scholars,” said Ramapo President Cindy Jebb. “All of us at Ramapo are committed to student success, and we know that a key ingredient to that success and lifelong achievement is mentorship.”
Participants enjoyed workshops on campus resources including counseling, clubs and organizations, athletics, and the range of wrap-around student services available to students and their families at the public college. They also built mentor relationships and friendships with EOF students already enrolled in the program as well as Ramapo EOF alumni.
The Ramapo College EOF Summer Studies Institute program included:
- Students were paired with a peer Success Mentor in the summer that stays with them through the academic year for continued support and transition.
- Individualized consulting sessions with the members of the College’s Center for Reading & Writing
- Weekly well-being workshops with the Multicultural Specialist from the College’s Center for Health and Counseling, including topics on health/counseling, stress management, financial literacy, diversity, leadership, avoiding plagiarism, study skills, etc.
- A Success Seminar discussing how to navigate higher education while exploring lessons on self-awareness, self-development, and self-care.
- Participation in weekly Town Halls to introduce them to campus resources and special guests.
- Participation in an EOF Alumni Conference on campus, where Ramapo EOF alumni/staff presented workshops for our students.
- Attendance at an EOF Empowerment Conference in Montclair, NJ.
- Programming specials such as yoga, Grit & Wit obstacle course, and a hike to the Ramapo Reservation.
- Students who successfully complete the EOF Summer Studies Institute also qualify for up to $20,000 in scholarship through Ramapo College.
The Ramapo College EOF Program and its scholars have been recognized by the state of New Jersey’s Secretary of Higher Education for excellence in academic achievement. In addition, the program advisors serve on the executive board of the Educational Opportunity Fund Professional Association of New Jersey, Inc. and have published research on career development experiences and factors favoring persistence among EOF program participants and alumni.
Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.
Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.