Equity in Action: In SUNY Stony Brook’s Educational Opportunity Program, students support each other

by | Apr 18, 2018 | Blog

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at SUNY Stony Brook serves approximately 800 students each year. According to the SUNY Office of Institutional Research, Stony Brook’s EOP retention rate for the Fall 2016 entering class is nearly 96 percent, higher than the university’s overall retention rate of 90 percent. About 76 percent of students in the program graduate in six years.

The EOP experience at Stony Brook begins the summer before students’ first year, with an intense five-week summer program. Students take two credit-bearing courses as part of the summer program in Africana studies and writing. Students are placed in writing courses based on their assessment scores. Students also participate in math workshops as well as science and research workshops. Over the course of the summer program, students are exposed to the different programs and services available on campus. On weekends, campus faculty and leaders provide motivational talks for students. Many of the resident advisers and teaching assistants for the summer program are EOP participants, which provides incoming students with an opportunity to meet and learn from their EOP peers.

During the summer, students are assigned counselors who continue to work with them throughout their time in the program.  Counselors address the academic, financial, and personal needs of students.  Counselors also help students as they think about their post-college plans, including graduate school and careers. Students meets with their counselors four times each semester. In addition, all counselors teach a first-year seminar, which is offered in the fall of a student’s first year. The seminar addresses topics including study skills, course selection, and campus resources.

Tutoring services are offered to all EOP students, and in some instances required if a student needs additional assistance.  Both one-to-one and group tutoring services are offered and are available on evenings and weekends.

First-year students and sophomores are partnered with junior and senior “success coaches” who help students with topics such as time management and self-advocacy. Supports for juniors and seniors focus more on post-college opportunities, including graduate school and careers. EOP staff have close working relationships with the campus career services center in order to ensure EOP students have access to career services support.

There is also has a student association that plans social activities for students as well as a honor society.