Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 2:29 pm | Fair 73º


Select UCSB Freshmen Check Out Campus Early, Get Head Start on College

Ahead of fall's first day of classes, 400 teens get a chance to gain academic credits and get to know the campus

UC Santa Barbara’s Freshman Summer Start Program is under way, providing new students with a way to earn college credit in a six-week program designed to give them a head start in college.
UC Santa Barbara’s Freshman Summer Start Program is under way, providing new students with a way to earn college credit in a six-week program designed to give them a head start in college.  (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

An incoming freshman at UC Santa Barbara emerged from a dark campus lecture hall last week, trying to get his bearings as the bright sun and heat enveloped him.

Once his eyes adjusted, he smiled, waved and said “hello” as he walked past Jane Faulkner, the university’s student success librarian.

UCSB’s fall 2015 quarter doesn’t begin until Sept. 24, but already this student — along with about 400 others — was getting to know the lay of the land.

He was also earning college credit through the university’s Freshman Summer Start Program, which allows incoming students to jump-start college careers by earning seven to 13 college credits in the six-week summer session before fall.

“It’s a big deal to have six weeks,” said Faulkner, who teaches a seminar during the program to acclimate students to the library — a place she says will undoubtedly be a big part of their college careers.

“They come in and they think they know everything (about academic research),” she said, adding that the breadth and pace of college coursework soon humbles them.

Now into the fourth week, more than 100 students listened Wednesday to a lecture on Greek mythology (in that same dim, theater-like classroom).

Many took notes on laptops or in notebooks, but a large number seemed unsure about what information was important.

The program gives first-timers the choice of 90 courses, seminars and workshops, with most students this year majoring in pre-biology, pre-psychology and economics.

Program director Ralph Gallucci, who is also a lecturer in UCSB’s Classics Department, said any student could enroll, especially those interested in learning about undergraduate research or finding a faculty mentor.

When Freshman Summer Start Program began in 2002, just 200 students signed up. The program has steadily grown since until reaching 400, which taps out how many students can live in San Nicolas Hall.

Gallucci hopes the program will keep growing by possibly commandeering another dorm.

Highly motivated academics tend to enroll, wanting to graduate early — the early graduation rate is higher among FSSP participants — or to save some money.

Out-of-state and international students pay the same for summer credits as in-state students, and the program awards more than $1 million in grants and loans annually.

“We want them to bond with each other,” Gallucci said. “We want them to think about the next four years.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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