DELHI, NY (08/20/2016)(readMedia)-- Monica Randazzo came to SUNY Delhi not knowing exactly what she wanted to study. Thanks to the college's Academic Exploration Program, she found her way the moment she set foot on campus.
"I was unsure about what to choose as my major," said Randazzo, a first-year student originally from the Bronx. "I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, but I wasn't sure where to start."
At a Delhi Accepted Student Day, Randazzo immediately connected with advisors and they agreed that she would benefit from Delhi's Academic Exploration Program (AEP). The early support she received from this program led her to choosing a major in her first semester. "I took a Criminal Justice class, and I loved it! I'm now enrolled in that major."
Delhi's AEP streamlined the steps Randazzo needed to take to make her decision. "I didn't waste time searching for what interested me. The program also saved me money. I never ended up taking classes I didn't need," she explained.
"Undecided students are at a disadvantage. They come to college not knowing what major to select for a career that suits them. When they are given consistent, structured support, just like the support we offer through Delhi's AEP, they are able to succeed," explains Coordinator Rob Mazzei. "This program targets undeclared students, who typically have other challenges. They are sometimes unprepared or they are the first in their families to attend college. They sometimes come from low-income families. We help them through early engagement, specialized classes, and advisement tailored to students' needs to ensure their success."
A one-year AEP pilot produced great results. The retention of undeclared students increased from 52 percent to 77 percent. Those results helped the college secure a four-year $525,000 grant from the State University of New York's Investment and Performance Fund. The award was based on how Delhi's program fits into SUNY's Completion Agenda, which aims to boost the number of degrees awarded system-wide annually to 150,000.
As a way to increase access for students, the AEP offers pathways to many of Delhi's niche programs-Nursing, Veterinary Science Technology, Business, Hospitality Management, Applied Sciences, and Building Technologies. The AEP advisement staff is extremely well-versed in the academic demands, program expectations, and graduation requirements of the majors associated with each pathway, as well as the career options available to graduates.
After completing her first year, Randazzo has become a student leader, serving as treasurer for three campus organizations-Student Senate, Student Programming Board and her sorority, Mu Iota Upsilon. "Besides leading me to my major, the program has taught me to be a leader," she says. "I was a very shy person, but with the help of the AEP program I was able to meet people on campus and build connections."
For more information about SUNY Delhi's Academic Exploration Program, contact Rob Mazzei at 607-746-4647 or email@example.com or visit on the web at www.delhi.edu/academics/majors/undeclared.