Rachel Wilson (right) enjoys a summer concert at the AMP with her fellow Path scholar Isabella McPherson. The freshman Path students were able to spend the summer in Fayetteville as part of the ASAP summer bridge program.

Rachel Wilson is a first-year NSF Path Scholar pursing a B.A. in computer science and a B.S. in management with an organizational leadership focus. With her freshman Path cohort, she participated in the ASAP summer bridge program on campus to help her settle into college life before the fall semester started. Here, she documents the many benefits of the experience.

About Me

My name is Rachel Wilson, and I’m from a small town in Texas called Leonard. As of 2017 our population was 2,001, so when I say small, I mean it. It’s the type of town where the only drink is sweet tea, and the entire town shows up to the football game on Friday night. This made for an interesting transition this summer when I came to Fayetteville, with a population of 85,257.

As a part of the Path Program I participated in the Accelerated Student Achievement Program (ASAP) Summer Bridge Program. I earned 6 credits while also creating a network of important people and friends. I also took concurrent classes in high school, so when I finished the summer, I had a total of 30 credits. So now, I am a sophomore pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in computer science, as well as a Bachelor of Science in management with an organizational leadership focus. Later in life I want a management position that works with computers, so I’ve chosen this degree plan to best prepare me for my career.

The Summer Bridge Program

The Summer Bridge Program, commonly known as ASAP, is a 5-week program that gives incoming freshmen the opportunity to live on campus for the summer and take classes. For the duration of the program, housing, tuition, and meal plan are all paid by the Honors College Path Program through a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Rachel sat in the front row during engineering professor Kevin Hall’s EMAP (Engineering Math Acceleration Program) lecture.

During the summer bridge program, I participated in EMAP (engineering math acceleration program), worth 5 credit hours, and an honors research forum class worth 1 credit hour. My EMAP course was difficult, but if you received an “A” at the end you were awarded a $500 scholarship for the fall semester, so that was a major incentive. The course had quite a few instructors, but all of them were from the Freshman Engineering Program (FEP) that all freshman engineers must participate in. These instructors have turned out to be professors, academic advisors and overall excellent people to have connections with. So, aside from the education aspect, I also made connections that have proved to be useful.

I also made a lot of friends over the 5-week program. I first met my current best friend as my roommate during ASAP, and many other great friends as well. Since I knew absolutely nobody when I first arrived here, this made the transition into Fayetteville much easier. Also, during the ASAP program, our Path family would often have events over the weekends to have a good time and get to know each other better since most of us were no more than acquaintances. It was during this time that we really came together as a group and started to really enjoy one another’s company. Now, we really are one big family.

Overall, I could not have asked for a better opportunity to jump-start my college career. I made so many friends and met so many people who are important to my education. My summer was filled with wonderful friends and fun times, and this almost made me forget the fact that I was in summer school. But honestly, I wouldn’t change this experience for the world. The Path Program changed my entire outlook on college, and I’m happier here in Fayetteville than I’ve ever been before.