On the Brink of Losing His Dream of a College Degree, Student Turns to Kent State's Support Services
During his first year at Kent State University, Elijah Kirkland-Boyce realized that the road to the Dean’s List was a bumpy one, filled with twists and turns he never could have anticipated. Despite his best efforts, he received a D in a psychology course during his first semester.
Instead of giving up, Mr. Kirkland-Boyce reached out. He started taking advantage of the resources offered through Student Support Services in Kent State’s University College.
“I got tutoring from Student Support Services,” said Mr. Kirkland-Boyce, now a junior and the first in his family to attend college. “It really helped me out. Since then, I have made the Dean’s List the entire time I have been at Kent State.”
Student Support Services is one of Kent State’s five federally funded TRIO programs. It assists students with designated incomes, those who are the first in their families to attend college and students registered for Student Accessibility Services. Student Support Services offers support in three core areas: academic success, personal and professional development, and advocacy and support.
As a Pittsburgh native looking for colleges, Mr. Kirkland-Boyce almost did not consider Kent State a viable option, instead focusing on universities in Pennsylvania. However, Kent State’s persistent pursuit of him, and persuasive friends who attend the university, convinced him to make a visit.
“I fell in love with the campus because it is so beautiful,” Mr. Kirkland-Boyce said. “Kent State wasn’t far away from home, but it was just far enough.”
Once Mr. Kirkland-Boyce arrived on campus, he took part in the Destination Kent State orientation program, which helps students meet one-on-one with college advisors, register for their classes, meet new friends and learn the campus. He also participated in Kupita/Transiciones, a free, four-day cultural orientation and yearlong mentoring program for newly admitted and transfer African-American, Latino American, Native American and multiracial students.
To help offset the cost of his education, Mr. Kirkland-Boyce took two free summer classes at Kent State through Summer Advantage, a six-week Academic Diversity Outreach program in which students receive academic support, career exploration and success coaching. He also participated in an internship as an athletic trainer for USA Hockey, conveniently located at the Kent State Ice Arena.
“The athletic training program has helped me intellectually,” Mr. Kirkland-Boyce said. “It helped me get my internship, and I am very grateful.”
Kent State’s University College and its programs have given Mr. Kirkland-Boyce the financial, technical and moral support that he needs to continue the journey toward graduation. He hopes to attend graduate school after completing his degree in athletic training, become a physical therapist and eventually go to medical school to be an orthopedic surgeon – none of which would be possible without the continuous support of Kent State.
“There are times when I don’t know if I’ll make it back to school,” he said. “Student Support Services has given me grants to help me. It’s definitely a good support system for networking, tutoring and just having people to talk to.”