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College Access Program
CAP Home
         CAP Students Speak Out

David & Solomon TutoringReading Tutors with Professor KomarowStudents at Work in the Learning Center

THE PROJECT:

During spring semester 2004, the College Access Program's English 002 class participated in a college-wide initiative to promote Service Learning. In most Service Learning courses, the students provide a service that requires about a 10-hour time commitment outside of class. That service is then used as a "text" for student reflection, as if the service were an actual reading. Because of time and schedule constraints, EN002 students choose not to leave campus to provide their service. Instead they completed reading and writing assignments around the theme of what it means to be a responsible citizen in a democracy. As their service, they wrote about their experience in CAP to help prospective students understand the program. They hope that future CAP classes will add their voices.


STARTING CAP:

The first weeks of class in CAP I was worried I would be overwhelmed with essays and bookwork. After the first month, I started to relax and realize college was not so bad. In fact, during the first three months at MC I learned more than I had learned in one year of high school. Even better, I was able to use what I learned outside of school. Since my classes were small, I really got to know all of my classmates very well. I could talk about the work with them and work with them if I didn’t understand an assignment. I didn’t always enjoy all the work I had to do in college, but because it meant a better future for me, I did the work no matter how hard it was—ZH


When I came to MC I was so nervous. I was leaving high school where I had been with the same people that I had known almost all my life. I would be going to a place where there were people my age, people much older than me, bigger classes and more homework. I did not know how I was going to handle all the pressure. I was most nervous about how my learning disability might hinder me. My reading and writing skills were not very strong and I knew college would require much reading and writing.

Being in CAP helped me because I was around people who had learning disabilities as well, and I could talk about my LD openly. Even though I really never hid that I had LD, it was nice to be around people I could relate to because they understood how hard it was to have a learning disability. My classmates and my professors were cool and helpful. I never felt dumb around them. I realized I just have a different learning style—BP


My advice to students entering CAP is you have to be willing to work hard in college. Yes, you take fewer classes than in high school, but teachers have more expectations and the work is harder. If you do not work hard, you will not succeed. For example, let’s say you put off doing the work the professor assigned to you. Consequently, your work will start to pile up on you, and you will fall behind and possibly fail. Do not feel intimidated by the work. You should just think how proud you will be of yourself when you earn an A on a paper or when you finish your lab work. One week I had three papers to write and labs to finish. Even though I was tired and frustrated with all the work, I pushed myself to finish it. Good grades go to those who work hard. In fact, after I spend four or five hours on a project, I have a good feeling knowing I will earn a good grade—AC

WORKING ON WRITING:

Taking the CAP English class can help you find a thesis for your essays, decide on clear topic sentences and link those sentences together. Making sure that the paragraphs in my essays linked together was the hard part for me, but after joining the CAP program I became better. Now my paragraphs follow each other clearly so readers should be able to read my papers without forgetting why or what they are reading. Sometimes linking the parts of the essay together could be a pain, so I often saved that step till last. After I finished the first draft, I read over my essays and put in the connecting words and phrases that would link the parts of my paper to each other and to the thesis—KS

FINDING A DIRECTION:

I had been out of high school for two years and was spending too much of my time sitting around with nothing to do. I did not have any idea what my life was going to turn out like. I was not sure school would work for me, but I took a chance and enrolled in MC's College Access Program. After two semesters in the program, I'm glad I pushed myself to go to college. In fact, going to school has helped me feel better about myself. I did not think that college was for me but because other people pushed me and I pushed myself to become a good college student, starting college was one of the best steps I could have taken at this time in my life—AW


I decided to come back to school because I was not moving up in my job, mainly because I was unable to write effective reports. At my computer job, when a problem comes up, I have to write out a report describing that problem for the next shift of workers. Writing these reports is very hard for me because of my poor grammar and usage. I will never forget the reaction of my co-workers to one of the reports I wrote. They laughed at my errors and told me I was a dummy. I was never so embarrassed in my life. Incidents like this helped me decide to enroll in CAP to fix this humiliating shortcoming—AB

FACING A DISABILITY:

A student who is honest with his or herself, especially one who is struggling with learning disabilities, is bound for a successful college career. Students who are honest with themselves will realize that college is a personal learning experience and will work according to their personal abilities. However, many students fall into the trap of comparing themselves to their classmates. I was one of those students. I spent most of my first semester working according to the standards of my peers, loading my first semester with classes that I was not really prepared for. I battled depression because I could not keep up with my work like my classmates could. However, college students who are honest with themselves will know when to ask for help. That’s what I did second semester when I enrolled in CAP to take a writing class to strengthen my skills. I accepted my accommodations for my LD and did not think this was a sign of weakness. As a result, I was much more successful during the second semester. Although there were times of relapse when I could not finish my work on time, I improved as a student. If I had not been honest with myself about my LD, this year would have seemed like a failure—JM


The CAP program and learning disabilities turned out to be a great fit. Coming into CAP, I did not know what to expect. After realizing that the lab was required for our benefit and the teachers and tutors were available to help us, I felt relaxed and calm about college. I always knew that if I had a question about a paper or about something I was reading, there would always be someone around to help me. The teachers taught me how to go around my LD to become a better student. High school students getting ready to graduate who are thinking they should forget about college just because they can't get into a four year school or because they have LD need to think over that decision one more time—GG


Students should keep in mind that because they have a learning disability, they have to work harder than the other students do. I learned in CAP to put my schoolwork first on my list of things to do. If I hadn't learned that lesson, I would probably have ended up doing mediocre work and failing my classes. When you are attending college, studying should be your biggest priority if you are going to succeed—CC


One tip for succeeding in CAP is to realize you are not alone. You must remember there are many people like you who struggle with LD. People with learning disabilities just learn differently. We have to find ways to help ourselves learn and study effectively. I tried new ways of studying for exams, doing homework and listening in class. In studying for exams, I made notecards with a word, a definition or an idea. In reading I learned to highlight main ideas and write these ideas on the side of each paragraph. This annotating technique helped me to study more efficiently because I didn’t have to reread whole articles to remember what they said—ES

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TO RECEIVE AN APPLICATION PACKET:

For an information packet,
Call DSS: 240-567-5058, TTY 301-294-9672,
Email DSS (dss@montgomerycollege.edu)
Print out the information packet from the DSS website,
or write to:
Disability Support Services
Counseling/Advising Building, Room 122
Montgomery College
51 Mannakee St.
Rockville, MD 20850. 

 

 

   
Content Manager: Janet Merrick, janet.merrick@montgomerycollege.edu, 240-567-5061