Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Students share their EOP experiences 

 

By Victoria Campbell 

The transition into college can be difficult and overwhelming to some, as students leave home and begin to step into adulthood. This change may be more difficult for some students, who need more help navigating this new environment.

This is where The Educational Opportunity Program at SUNY Plattsburgh comes in. They specialize in providing academic, financial and personal support to students in New York who have the potential to do well and earn a college degree. 

EOP enabales students to come to campus early, participate in the program and build those connections.

According to the SUNY Plattsburgh website, the program has been helping students reach their career and academic goals for more than 50 years.

EOP aims to encourage young students who may or may not have been admitted otherwise to start college. 

EOP not only helps financially but also provides academic assistance when needed. It can also offer scholarships if one succeeds in the six-week summer program. 

These six weeks are designed to help students in the program become acclimated to a college environment. It helps those involved become familiar with the campus, faculty and how college is structured.

The Educational Opportunity Program helps students receive academic, career and personal counseling and supplemental instruction. The program also helps with non-tuition expenses such as books and supplies.

Kaliyah Green, a junior at SUNY Plattsburgh, learned about EOP when applying for financial aid.

The chance to be a part of EOP depends on several factors.

“When applying for colleges, when you do financial aid, you find out if you qualify,” Green said. “Not everyone can just join.”

Green however, did not have a typical EOP experience, and could not fully complete the six-week program in person.

“I did it during COVID, so the summer program was through Zoom, and I took some summer courses,” Green said.

Overall, Green sees the benefits and the helpful resources she continues to get through the EOP program. As a junior, she continues to get services and help when needed.

“While my experience was different due to COVID, anytime I needed help with a grade if it was incorrect or I needed to hand something in, EOP helps,” Green said.

Khalil Estime, a sophomore at SUNY Plattsburgh, had the whole experience before the semester started and did the six-week program 

for EOP.

Estime found EOP through college counselors in high school, and the program was recommended to him, so he applied.

“I enjoyed EOP thoroughly, and it was a great experience and opportunity to make friends with people I’ll know for a lifetime,” Estime said.

College can be a nerve-wracking experience before coming, and for Estime, EOP helped expose him to college before the semester started.

“It was a very new yet welcoming environment, not only the school but also advisors and TCs, and how willing they were to make sure we knew what we needed to know,” Estime said. 

Estime knew it was somewhat limited, but the program still provides many more resources than the average student to get a headstart.

EOP can provide benefits not just in academics, but in one’s social life as well, and for Estime, he was able to make friendships that will last a lifetime.

“I can never be ungrateful for the experience, in general, things related to school: like computers, money tutoring, advising, and much more,” said Estime. 

EOP can help with all of those areas, and it was beneficial for him in that sense.

Not only do EOP students experience the benefits or the weaknesses of the program, but so do the tutors and counselors, most being students themselves.

While some students such as Green completed those six weeks online, in person can be a different experience.

Addhyan Kohli, a former tutor and counselor at EOP, had an experience that shed light on the six-week program.

“My experience was pretty exhausting, the duties were vague and extremely time-consuming,” Kohli said.

Grading, tutoring, tabling, tour guides, excursions and CA desk duties took up much of Kohli’s time.

“Out of the six weeks I worked, I worked roughly 36 to 40 hours a week,” Kohli said. “We were told about our jobs, but the additional duties were vague.”

The vague guidelines given and numerous responsibilities can become exhausting  

EOP is there to help benefit students, but the experience was the complete opposite for some students and tutors.

“I would not recommend either. Being a tutor was mentally exhausting, it was extremely restrictive for students, and there was no limit to how much we had to work,” Kohli said.

Students had limitations and a curfew, a false sense of reality in college.

“The experience of EOP gives an opposite perspective of what college is; college is not like that,” said Kohli.

Some of the jobs for coworkers were to watch students’ food portions and how much they had on their plates while eating.

“That is not normal and personal. College students are too old for that, and it can be belittling, especially at 17 or 18,” said Kohli. 

SUNY Plattsburgh’s EOP program will continue to make a difference in students’ lives, regardless if students enjoy it or have a different view. 

The experience and qualifications it can offer can make a difference.

 

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