BANGOR, Maine — Eastern Maine Community College is launching a new program, the Summer Success Academy, for incoming first-year students. The two-week program is intended to help students develop math, writing and college-readiness skills through hands-on activities.

“We’re finding that a large percentage of students are coming to college underprepared,” said Liz Russell, dean of student success. “Our goal is to give them a chance to jump-start their college experience.”

Funded by the Maine Community College System, the Summer Success Academy is one of a handful of pilot programs in the state aimed at improving student success rates. It is free of charge for incoming first-year students at EMCC.

The curriculum is comprised of hands-on writing and math instruction, first-year experience courses and team challenges. Students also will participate in activities throughout the Bangor community, including a scavenger hunt downtown and visits to the Mount Hope Cemetery and Penobscot Theatre. These outings have math and writing exercises embedded within them.

Students in the Summer Success Academy will receive credit for FYE100, EMCC’s required first-year experience course, upon completion. They also will have the opportunity to meet students, faculty and staff, and to improve math and writing skills sufficiently to bypass developmental coursework and begin core technology classes earlier.

“Right now, 62 percent of our incoming students are required to take developmental mathematics, and 48 percent are required to take developmental English,” said Russell. “We want students to be able to jump right into their 100-level courses.”

Thirty-two students have already moved into the EMCC dormitories for the Residential Academy, which began June 15, and applications are still being accepted for the Commuter Academy, which begins July 14.

The Residential Academy is academically and socially intensive. Activities are scheduled all day, every day, including weekends, for the duration of the two-week program.

“The residential program provides students with an opportunity to adjust to residence hall life and to explore all that Bangor has to offer,” said Russell.

The Commuter Academy is a more traditional program, with three days of scheduled instructional time each week. It includes fewer community and social engagement activities but places an equally intensive focus on academics.

“We’re doing a lot of data collection with regard to this program to make sure it’s effective,” said Russell, “and if it is, we plan to scale it up and get more students involved in the future.”

For more information or to enroll in the upcoming Commuter Academy program, visit or call Liz Russell at 974-4684 or email