Top 10 Benefits of the Dragon Scholars Program
October 17, 2019
The Dragon Scholars Program has been in existence for decades. The name, the curriculum, and the staff have changed, but the goal of helping to ease the transition from high school to college has not. In my time here, I've seen the program go from four weeks, to six weeks, a hybrid with a few weeks online and a few weeks on campus. And currently, we are at five weeks.
This program hosts 50–60 students from a variety of majors. Most of our students keep in touch and form lasting friendships with each other.
Summer bridge programs, such as Dragon Scholars, can be beneficial to every new student. In no particular order, here are the top 10 benefits in participating in our summer program.
- Explore a quieter campus. While we are still in an active class term, we have less students on campus because our first-years are on break and our seniors just graduated. By the time our summer program students come back in the fall, they can lead tours!
- Experience in a college classroom. Our math class is taught by faculty in our math department, individuals whom many of the students end up having sometime in their first year. The students get to see what it's like to sit in a college-style lecture and the importance of taking notes, studying, and using academic support services like tutoring.
- Upper-class students serve as peer mentors. Many of our peer mentors were previous summer program participants. While they give tips and tricks for getting through the summer, they also help demystify college in general.
- College credit. Over the past few years, we have been able to offer the math class for credit. It is on the student transcript.
- Connect with valuable campus resources. We bring in a variety of offices to present their offerings, including study abroad, career services, undergraduate research, and counseling, to name a few. Many times I hear from students that at some point during their first year they or a friend have a question and they can remember the presentations and who would be best to assist them.
- Get to know Philadelphia. We plan excursions around the city as part of the program. This past summer we were able to take our students to a Phillies game, introducing them to SEPTA. We also encourage our students to just walk about the neighborhood, especially since we share a border with UPenn, and see what is available to them.
- Meet friends outside of their major. It is easy for our students to start classes and not really make friends outside of their major. This program hosts 50–60 students from a variety of majors. Most of our students keep in touch and form lasting friendships with each other.
- Sneak peek of residential living. Housing is optional, but strongly encouraged for our participants. They all live together in one residence hall during the summer but they get a sense of what it's like to live with a roommate and share restrooms. For many, it's the first time they are living on their own, doing their own laundry, and learning to cook.
- Get a sense of commuting. Most of our students live on campus during the summer, but we also have a handful of students who commute. They understand how much time it will take to get to campus and are better able to adjust once the fall starts.
- Students get their DragonCard early. Many places offer discounts with a student ID and our summer program students get to start enjoying that benefit in July.
Tasha Gardner, EdD is the Director for the Center for Inclusive Education and Scholarship at Drexel. In her free time, she loves crafting (anything creative) and baking. Tasha has been at Drexel since starting as a first-year student in 1998. Even though she took a 3-year break before starting full-time, she was still connected to the university.