Pre-College Program Eases Transition for Boston Students

June 9, 2015

Wentworth students take part in a previous RAMP program

Students take part in a previous RAMP program at Wentworth

Think of it as basic training for Boston students who will be attending Wentworth—an academic boot camp of sorts that soothes pre-college jitters and, as an added bonus, includes a paycheck.

Each summer, through the Center for Community and Learning Partnerships (CLP), Wentworth Institute of Technology offers RAMP—as in ramping up to college—to its rising first-year students who are residents of the city of Boston.

The six-week bridge, from July 6 to August 14, helps students transition from high school to Wentworth via project-based learning through community partnerships, academic and skill building sessions with faculty and staff, and visits with industry partners.

A key feature of Wentworth’s program is that participants don’t lose income that they otherwise may have earned at a regular summer job. RAMP attendees receive $1,500—$10 an hour—while learning, experiencing campus life, and meeting future classmates. In comparison, the 2015 minimum wage for Massachusetts is $9 an hour.

This summer RAMP students will be working on projects that have a positive impact on local communities—designing a city garden space with the Boston Natural Areas Network and an exercise pavilion in Hyde Park with the YMCA. They also will be taking a math or science course, and a communications course through which they will relate their RAMP experience and discuss professional skills acquired in the program.

Most RAMP students are first-generation college attendees, said Nicole Jensen, the Center’s RAMP and college access coordinator. And 81 percent of those who have completed the program still remain on campus.

Jensen said there are 40 spots available in the program this year, and thus far 32 students are scheduled to attend.

CLP Director Erik Miller said interest in RAMP has been growing steadily since the program began in 2011 with 11 attendees. “The feedback has been very, very positive,” he said. “Not only from the students and their families, but also from the business leaders and everyone involved.”

Bernard Dubuisson, a 2013 RAMP participant, has said that the program gave him, “great mentors and friends to help guide me on my college journey.”

Funding for RAMP is provided by the Lloyd D. Balfour Foundation, the Edwin S. Webster Foundation, and the Mabel Louise Riley Foundation. The Boston Private Industry Council has been a key partner in developing the program.

Representatives from local businesses bring their industry experience to the program. Companies that have already signed on for this summer include EMC, IBM, and IDEO. Miller said CLP is collaborating with other partners and Wentworth alumni to get involved.

Learn more about the program at http://www.wit.edu/clp/college-access/ramp.html

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