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Montgomery College Student Success Stories

New Program Opens Doors to College Students Facing Multiple Obstacles
Montgomery College Today, Spring '03

Rosetta Nesbitt (right)Rosetta Nesbitt never thought she would attend college. “College just wasn’t a dream for me because I was a special education student. The doors were shutting all around me,” she said. The doors opened for Nesbitt, a Silver Spring resident, when she found out about Student Support Services (SSS), a federally funded grant program at Montgomery College that helps low income students to stay in college and ultimately, pursue their baccalaureate degrees. Participants, who also include students with physical or learning disabilities, receive intensive tutoring at no cost, advising, mentoring, and remedial instruction, as well as career and transfer advising, and help with financial aid applications. Students also attend workshops on study skills, goal-setting, and classroom survival techniques. And, since many students in the program have never been exposed to cultural activities, they also enjoy free admission to plays or concerts. According to Nesbitt, the key to her success is her adviser, Francesca Coretto, who is with her every step of the way. “It’s so supportive here, way beyond the norm, she said. “It feels like family.”

Since the program serves about 125 students, SSS counselors have the unique opportunity to work one on one with participants. Unlike traditional advising programs, SSS advisers get
to know each student well, and are personally committed to his or her success. Eligibility for Student Support Services is based on family income, educational level of the student’s parents (neither parent must hold a bachelor’s degree), or the student’s disability. In addition, the student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and in need of academic support.

Joshua Hutton of Chevy Chase stumbled into the Student Support Services offices quite by accident looking for a quiet place to study. Now an enthusiastic participant, he
appreciates the fact that adviser Caretto makes sure he gets the intensive math and writing tutoring he needs. “She also helps me to be organized and to stay on top of things, and she’s helping me transfer to Towson University. Without her, I’d be in trouble.”