Collaboration with Philadelphia Futures Opens Doors for First-gen Students

By Purnell T. Cropper | August 8, 2014


A collaboration between Arcadia University and Philadelphia Futures is, in many ways, a perfect fit.

After all, the University throughout its history has enrolled many first-generation students, providing opportunities for those who were the first in their families to attend college. And since its establishment in 1989, Philadelphia Futures has provided the city’s low-income, first-generation college students with the tools and resources necessary for admission to and success in college.

In June, Arcadia was the host site for a portion of one of the Philadelphia Futures’ signature events, the College Admissions Marathon, a two week-long program designed for rising high school seniors. Nearly 85 students and staff members congregated in Brubaker Hall to participate in the daylong session.

Judith Dalton, associate dean for institutional diversity, Dr. Doreen Loury, director of ACT101, and members of the Gateway and ACT101 programs were among the Arcadia University representatives who welcomed the group to campus and provided advice on identifying and benefitting from academic resources and support in college.

Arcadia entered into a collaboration with Philadelphia Futures in January 2013, after Dalton had advocated the collaboration since 2005. Prior to this formal establishment, the Office of Institutional Diversity and the Office of Enrollment Management hosted campus visits of Philadelphia Futures’ students.

“We are proud to partner with Philadelphia Futures and are excited about the students that come to us from their organization,” said Collene Pernicello, director of Undergraduate Admissions at Arcadia. “The students are well-prepared for the academic challenges presented to them and quickly become active and engaged members of the Arcadia community.”

Thus far, two Philadelphia Futures students attend Arcadia University, and a third is set to enter in the upcoming fall semester.

“As Arcadia students, they receive financial and academic support resources and services to help ensure their successful completion and graduation, and Philadelphia Futures counselors will continue to be in contact with them throughout the students’ time in college,” said Dalton. “Both of the first Philadelphia Futures students at Arcadia, who are now sophomores, are progressing very well and are engaged in the University community through the Gateway and ACT101 programs and via their participation in student clubs and organizations,” added Dalton.

In light of the program’s success, Dalton says that Arcadia is committed to continuing this collaboration and will provide financial and academic resources for up to three students each year.

“I was delighted to receive emails from Philadelphia Future’s students, who’d written to tell me of their appreciation for the words of encouragement that I’d given them and of how doing so helped to spark their interest in applying to Arcadia next year,” says Dalton. “And I melt whenever I receive such confirmation of me doing what I’m purposed to do.”