CCU program gives some students a chance at college - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

CCU program gives some students a chance at college

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - At this time of the year, you may think orientations are about the only thing going on at the CCU campus, but inside many buildings, some students are already in the swing of things.

You won't hear many complaints either, because this relatively new CEAL program is giving them a shot no one else was willing to give them.

One of those students is Shyquain McRae. The incoming freshman is now the first person ever from his family to get a college experience, and he's not taking it for granted.

"I've met a lot of new people, new faces, He said. I'm hopeful to finding a best friend out here."

McRae is on campus this summer because CCU gave him a chance no one else did.            

The Myrtle Beach native graduated high school with a 3.3 GPA, played football, and mentored at the Boys and Girls club.

However, he, like many others struggled with the SAT and had trouble getting into a college.

Now with CCU's CEAL program, he and many others are getting that experience they thought they may never get.

"I have new teachers that really want to help me, and want me to succeed and become successful in life, and it really means a lot to me," McRae said.

"It doesnt really make you who you are and what your academic potential is, explained program director Dr. Brandi Neal. It doesn't mark it at all."

CEAL stands for Coastal Excellence and Leadership. Its goal is to let in students who show great promise academically, but didn't have the standardized scores to get into college.

The program doesn't stop once teens are accepted. Students in the program take several classes before school even starts to get them ready for what's to come.

They get a jump start on everything, Neal explained. They know where everything is on campus, they know where offices are, they know who to talk to if they have an issue.

For McRae and the more than 80 other students, that extra chance and extra preparation means the world. It feels good. I can put myself out there, I can tell people how I got a college experience, how Im doing well in college, he said.

The program has more than 80 students this year. Last year, in its first year, there were more than 50.

The program is happy with its progress as well. Neal says many students made the deans list last year, and some even moved on to honors colleges.

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