Director of Program
Michael Ortiz, College Now/START Program
Students who have the ability, desire and motivation to benefit from the university’s program, but who do not meet the UMass Dartmouth’s minimum standards for admission, may consider the opportunity to enter the university through the alternative admissions program called College Now/START.
College Now/START is an admission and support program for students whose educational achievement has been hampered as a result of social or economic barriers. From the moment of admission, students enrolled through the College Now/START Program are provided with essential supportive services. Admission is offered only for the fall semester. All College Now/START first-year students participate in a fall developmental program in which they receive assistance and guidance in developing and sharpening the basic academic skills which are vital to their success at the university. Upon successful completion of the fall program, students are assigned into an academic major and are required to maintain university requirements. All College Now/START students are assigned a counselor that will assist with selecting courses, credit evaluation, and career guidance and development during their freshmen year and continue to be available until graduation.
College Now applicants must be in-state residents and either a US citizen or be a permanent resident for at least one year and must meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria: low income status defined by federal guidelines and/or first generation to attend college. Applicants must demonstrate the ability to complete developmental and credited courses within one semester in order to matriculate into the university. Applicants who may have previously taken college credited courses may apply; however, the number of credits cannot exceed 24 transferable college credits.
START (Steps Toward Abstract Reasoning and Thinking)
While similar to College Now, START services students seeking calculus based majors such as Mathematics and Engineering. Students must complete two successful semesters prior to an assignment of major. START applicants need not be Massachusetts residents, nor first generation to attend college and/or low income status defined by federal guidelines, however must be either a US citizen or be a permanent resident for at least one year.
The College Now/START Program is composed of three components:
College Now/START applicants submit the university admission application, along with their High School transcript and SAT scores. In addition, prior to an admissions decision, applicants complete a series of placement tests and a personal interview. The placement testing provides the opportunity for the College Now/START staff to assess the applicant’s level of academic performance, and the interview allows applicants to demonstrate their level of motivation, desire and discipline necessary to succeed academically.
College Now offers a Fall Academic Program (FAP). During the fall semester, College Now students are placed in specific courses based on area of interest and placement testing designed to address their academic development, promote success in their major of interest, and adjust to university life. Program participants must demonstrate the ability to complete developmental and credited courses within one semester in order to matriculate into the university.
START offers a two-semester curriculum which helps students acquire math, science and reasoning skills and adjust to university life.
Each student is assigned a counselor who will assist with academic advising, securing tutorial services, accessing university resources, and provide personal support and guidance for their academic career until the point of graduation.