Thirty-two incoming freshmen took advantage of the Hilltopper Academy this week as they prepared for a successful year of college.

West Liberty University offers the annual end-of-summer session for students who may need remedial work or extra assistance to ensure a strong first year experience.

Incoming Freshmen Chance Haugh, Kevin Malone and Kaitlynn Hewitt  attend the awards picnic that closes the Hilltopper Academy.

Incoming Freshmen Chance Haugh, Kevin Malone and Kaitlynn Hewitt attend the awards picnic that closes the Hilltopper Academy.

“This program is a proven winner for students. Freshmen who sign up for the Hilltopper Academy generally do better and are more confident when school begins,” said Jamie Coen-Pickens, director of the program.

Coens-Pickens is retention specialist for WLU and is part of the student-focused Department of Learning and Student Development, located in WLU’s Main Hall. It offers academic and cultural support for students, along with careers services, counseling and more.

Hilltopper Academy is a weeklong, residential, summer-bridge program designed to increase college readiness among entering freshmen with at-risk pre-entry factors, like low scores on college entrance tests. Qualifying freshmen are invited to participate in the academy in early May but are not required to do so.

Participants engage in a week of skill-building activities in math, writing, critical-thinking, study strategies and time management. Students participating in the Hilltopper Academy enjoyed an award picnic upon completion of the program.

“It was a great week and I learned a lot. I feel better prepared for my classes and enjoyed meeting other students,” said Kaitlynn Hewitt of Moundsville.

West Liberty University begins classes on Monday, Aug. 25 on its main campus and on Saturday, Aug. 23 at its Highlands Center location.