Jump Start

Jump Start

The overall purpose of Jump Start is to retain students by providing them with help and guidance from students with first-hand knowledge of Penn State University, raising their level of academic preparedness by giving them college-level work before they come to campus, and developing a cadre of student leaders.

Many students in the target population (priority students) are from urban centers outside a reasonable commuting distance and would benefit from the experiences Jump Start has to offer. Many students enter the University unprepared to face the change in academic expectations and have difficulty transitioning into the college environment.

The Jump Start Program started in 2008 on the PSMA campus. Jump Starts students continually have higher GPA’s and retention rates in comparison to students whom eligible for the program but choose not to attend.

Fall 2017 data shows Jump Start students average GPAs at 3.07, compared to 2.50 for those who were eligible and chose not to participate.

Who is eligible for Jump Start?

Students who are entering the University for the first time are given priority for consideration if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • first generation college students and/or Alaskan Native, African American, American Indian, Asian American-Pacific Island, Hispanic American-not Puerto Rican, Puerto Rican students.
  • Predicted GPA’s below 2.5
  • Students who place into both developmental English (ENGL 004) and score 30% or below with the math placement.

What is the purpose of Jump Start?

The overall purpose of the Jump Start program is to retain students within the mentioned populations by providing them with help and guidance from students with first-hand knowledge of Penn State University, to raise their level of academic preparedness by giving them college-level work before they come to campus, and to develop a cadre of student leaders. The Jump Start Program operates utilizing the following components:

  • Virtual Summer Component
  • Early Entrance Experience
  • Academic Component

How are students recruited for Jump Start?

Once a new-incoming Penn State Mont Alto student completes their online placement exams, their file is reviewed by the Student Advocacy Manager for eligibility. Once eligibility has been determined, the student is contacted with a letter informing them of their eligibility.

On the New Student Orientation day scheduled through the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) office, the eligible student will meet with a Jump Start staff member or representative for the student to learn more about the program and determine if the student is interested in joining the program. All expenses of the Jump Start program are covered by the University and joining the program is not required.

If you have any questions regarding Jump Start that you would like to address, you may contact Marla Minnich, Student Advocacy Manager

What are the goals of the program?

Goal #1    

Raise the level of academic preparedness so that students are ready for college-level courses by having them complete college-level coursework tutorials before their fall semester entry. 

Goal #2    

Ease the social and academic transition from high school to University by connecting incoming freshmen with upper-class peer mentors and a professional Learning Specialist.

Goal #3    

Provide Jump Start students with an extended orientation (Early Entrance Experience) allowing ease of transition academically and socially.

Goal #4    

Work with Jump Start students to ensure higher persistence and success rates compared to eligible students who did not or were unable to enroll in the program.

Goal #5     

Develop student leaders through peer mentoring programs.

What are the scheduling considerations for Jump Start students?

In order to be on track for a successful first year, Jump Start students are required to take specific courses during their first year. During the fall semester, students will take: MATH 004/021, ENGL 004, PSU 008s (as part of the Early Entrance Experience), and BB H 148s along with two additional general education requirements. For the spring semester students will take: MATH 021 (or appropriate GQ for major or repeat MATH 004), ENGL 015 (or repeat ENGL 004), and three additional general education requirements for their intended major.

Jump Start students are entering into the university as developmental education students, therefore strong consideration should be given when selecting general education courses where high levels of reading comprehension, critical thinking, and independent learning are needed for success. The Jump Start staff has developed a list of suggestions for advisers to follow when assisting a Jump Start student enroll in their fall and spring semester classes. Suggesting a student take a course not on the suggested list WILL BE putting the student at academic risk. If a course is not shown on the list, please confer with a Jump Start staff person for approval.