Educational Opportunities Program
Overview of the Program
The Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) was established at the University at Albany in 1968. The program seeks to provide admission opportunities for economically and educationally disadvantaged students who wish to enroll in one of many undergraduate departments at this University. Having the second largest EOP in the SUNY system with nearly 650 students being served, one objective of the EOP is to see that each student admitted is provided with all the services and assistance necessary for success in whatever degree program he or she seeks to complete. To this end, students enrolled in the Educational Opportunities Program are provided with supportive services designed to help students who need assistance in academic, financial, social, or personal matters. Specifically, the following services are provided to EOP students by a staff of professional counselors and departmental faculty members:
- Developmental coursework in reading/writing, math, and study skills
- One-to-one-personal/academic counseling
- Free one-to-one tutorial assistance
- Five week EOP mandatory Pre-College Summer Residential Program
- Monthly EOP newsletter
- Financial aid packaging
- EOP Computer User Room and an EOP Writing Center
- Peer tutorial and peer advisement services
- Career and personal growth workshops
- Study skills materials
- Graduate school advisement and EOP graduate school tuition waiver.
EOP Pre-College Summer Component
Each summer, incoming EOP freshman students participate in a five-week residential experience on the college campus, normally beginning in July and ending in early August. The full cost of tuition, fees, room and board, and books is paid for through an EOP grant. Small classroom instruction is offered to remediate, enrich, and provide a better start for university courses that students will take in the fall semester. Students are also exposed to numerous academic and nonacademic survival skills, extensive individual and group counseling sessions, and personal and educational advisement. Other priorities during the summer include in-depth study skill enrichment and career awareness sessions.
The summer instructional staff includes university lecturers who exclusively teach our EOP students during the academic year. The academic subjects involve pre-college work in writing, reading, and mathematics. EOP counselors who coordinate the extensive counseling sessions are experienced and trained. They develop a unique personal relationship with students, and this relationship continues during the matriculation years. In addition to the instructors and counselors, student assistants are also totally involved in the pre-college summer experience. These peer tutors and lay counselors not only live in the residential halls with the students, but also assist in the instructional process.
EOP Supportive Service Unit
It is the obligation of an educational institution to contribute to the development of the “total” individual. As such, the EOP staff insures that all channels of supportive service are available to the members of the EOP population. The EOP office is the hub from which all EOP services radiate. Inherent in the agreement to accept students into EOP is the understanding that the EOP staff commits its energies to the positive academic and social adjustment of the individual students who select the program.
The EOP office serves as the administrative unit through which academic assistance is provided to all EOP students. EOP seeks to promote scholarship and to insure the graduation of those students. It incorporates basic social and educational techniques to meet different needs.
Developmental Course Programming
Incoming freshmen admitted to EOP are evaluated, their weaknesses and strengths defined, and their special needs established.
As mentioned above, the developmental course curriculum offers courses in mathematics and writing. If needed, students are required to take a maximum of two levels of developmental courses during their pre-college summer program and during their first two semesters. During the academic year, along with the developmental courses, students also choose university courses. Although students receive transcript credit (not graduation credit) for enrollment in the developmental courses, the individual growth acquired can insure success in regular university courses.
The curriculum in writing is designed to develop and increase student awareness of the value of writing, and to encourage participation in the experience through writing in various modes and across the curriculum. The coursework consists of a two semester sequence in which students increase their confidence and fluency in writing, learn to cope with writing in the academic world, and learn the essentials of how to structure and write a college-level essay.
EOP seeks to offer its students a multidimensional approach to individual development. Fundamental to each student’s successful adjustment is the availability of comprehensive, competent counseling. Because the University at Albany presents a very demanding, competitive, and in most cases unfamiliar environment, the EOP counselors make every endeavor to reduce anxiety and to help students in adapting to university life. Counseling staff members advise and counsel students in academic, social, emotional, and vocational areas in order to help resolve student problems. Consultation links are sustained between the EOP counseling unit, the Advisement Services Center, the Campus Health Center, and other university service offices.
Peer Tutorial Program
The tutorial program aims to provide a well-structured peer tutorial support system to assist student academic progress in University at Albany course work. This tutorial program plays a vital part in contributing to the academic success of the University’s EOP population. Recommended by university faculty members, upper-class and graduate students are selected to tutor undergraduates in the University’s many departments. To ensure more effectiveness, tutoring is usually done on a one-to-one basis. Although tutoring is optional, it is strongly urged that students take advantage of this service before any academic difficulty is incurred. Tutors will usually work as many hours as needed.
Other Student Services
EOP students have access to the Office’s own computer lab usage room. Staffed at all times with a computer specialist, EOP students can receive technical assistance for word processing purposes.
Personal/Career Growth Workshops
A number of personal growth workshops are held yearly to aid EOP students with career choices and personal enrichment. Facilitated by the EOP counselors and University personnel, these career workshops improve a student’s understanding of the academic departments and of prospective career goals. Also, personal workshops focus on coping skills, study skills, time management, financial aid, and graduate school entrance.
To assist the EOP staff with a better understanding of individual academic departments, the EOP Office has a list of key faculty members who act as liaisons with EOP and that particular department. In addition, the faculty members periodically update the EOP staffers on departmental changes.
The EOP student is also encouraged to take full advantage of all academic and student services campus-wide.