University receives grant for Elon Academy program

An organization that represents private colleges in North Carolina has awarded Elon University a grant of nearly $15,000 to fund a summer program for students about to graduate from local high schools and who make up the inaugural class of the Elon Academy college access program.

The Alpha Class of the Elon Academy

The grant from North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities will support the Elon Academy College Transitions Program for the 22 graduating seniors and their families. The program ensures a successful transition to college and includes a college writing course for transfer credit with a writing support workshop, a three-day retreat, and a one-day family program and celebration of scholar achievements.

NCICU Grants were awarded to private institutions in North Carolina to assist in developing new or enhancing existing college access programs.

The specifics of the Elon Academy program are as follows:

The College Writing class (ENG 110) is Elon’s required freshman writing course and parallels mandatory courses at most universities. In addition to experiencing their first college class, scholars will participate in a writing workshop to support the development of their communication skills. Writing is a critical skill for college success, and Elon Academy leaders hope the class provides students with the skills and confidence they need to excel in college-level work.

The “First in the Family” Retreat will provide tools, resources, and materials to assist scholars with a successful transition into their freshman year of college and with their future success as college students. Centered around Kathleen Cushman’s First in the Family: Advice about College from First-Generation Students, participants will prepare for the challenges and dilemmas of beginning college as a first-generation student.

A “First in the Family” Family Program and Celebration Dinner will provide information, materials and support to families as they prepare to send their students to college. It will also be an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating scholars, including college admission and scholarship awards.

“Our scholars and their families both are excited and apprehensive about this new chapter in their lives,” said Deborah Long, a professor of education at the university and director of the Elon Academy. “With the NCICU grant we can provide programming that will not only ease the transition to college, but will give students the tools and resources they need to fully participate in the many rich experiences of college life.”

The Elon Academy staff will be working closely with the Alamance-Burlington School System through the “What’s After High School” Program as part of the initiative.

About North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities:

The mission of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities is to support, represent, and advocate for North Carolina independent higher education. NCICU is comprised of North Carolina’s 36 private, non-profit liberal arts, comprehensive, and research colleges and universities accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. NCICU represents independent higher education in the areas of state and federal public policy and on education issues with the other sectors of education in the state. They also provide research and information to and about private colleges and universities, conduct staff development opportunities and coordinate collaborative programs.

About the Elon Academy:

In 2007, in collaboration with the Alamance-Burlington School System, Elon University established the Elon Academy, a three-year intensive college access program for academically promising high school students with significant financial need and/or no family history of college. Its mission is to inspire students to pursue and earn a postsecondary degree and to assume leadership roles in their communities.

The program includes three 4-week residential summer experiences and year-round monthly Saturday programs on Elon’s campus. The Academy serves 74 scholars from seven high schools. The first cohort of scholars will graduate in May 2010. For more information, visit