Students preview college life through FTCAP
This summer, approximately 1,000 first-year students who will begin their studies in the fall semester will get a preview of what college life will be like through the Penn State Berks First-Year Testing, Consulting, and Advising Program (FTCAP) from June 26–July 18, 2012.
“FTCAP is Penn State's program that orients students, and their families, to the University, the campus, and our faculty and staff,” explains Dr. Paula Plageman, Coordinator of Academic Advising. “Students are provided with a framework designed to help them succeed academically and develop intellectually. FTCAP offers faculty and staff members at Penn State Berks the opportunity to welcome our new students as a valued addition to our academic community.”
During this series of day-long programs held throughout the summer, academic advisers in the Academic Advising Center, as well as faculty and staff members, help small groups of incoming first-year students evaluate their educational plans through a comprehensive program of testing and individualized academic advising.
The program provides students with an understanding of their academic abilities through the testing component, which is completed online prior to the student’s FTCAP visit. Testing determines the student’s appropriate starting levels in mathematics and chemistry. During FTCAP, students learn how their academic preparation and abilities compare to those of other Penn State students.
Then students and their families are introduced to the wide range of academic degree programs available through Penn State, both at Berks and other campus locations. Each student has an individual meeting with an academic adviser to discuss his or her educational plans. Experienced faculty and professional advisers assist students with course selection and scheduling.
While some students know what they want to study prior to FTCAP, many others are undecided. Meeting with an adviser helps these students to recognize all the options available to them through Penn State.
In addition to learning about academic programs, students learn about the college and its policies and procedures, buy their textbooks, have their photo ID taken, obtain a computer access account, tour the residence halls, and learn about life outside the classroom. Students also learn what to expect from their professors and what will be expected of them in the classroom.
There is a Student Services Fair that introduces them to Athletics, Campus Life, Career Services, Financial Aid, Housing and Food Services, Learning Communities, the Boscov-Lakin Information Commons at the Thun Library, Police Services, and a variety of other student services, including off-campus housing options.
While some of the activities are only for the students, families are invited and encouraged to come to FTCAP with their student and attend the general sessions, as well as sessions presented specifically for families.