What are Academic Opportunity Programs?

Academic Opportunity Programs, which includes the Arthur O. Even Higher Education Program, are special programs designed to provide broad and varied educational experiences to capable students who, due to academic under-preparation and limited financial resources, might otherwise not have an opportunity to attend college.

Brief Background

Academic Opportunity Programs, which includes HEOP and the HWS AOP program, is an academic support program that by nature is fluid in its operation by creating (or enhancing) a web of support for first generation and traditionally underrepresented populations in higher education. Our program population is made up of HEOP (75%) and HWS AOP students (25%) approximately 100. In addition to program students, Academic Opportunity Programs is and has traditionally supported non-program students represented by traditional students of color, international students and others as the need arises. Many of our non-program students arrive to us by referral from faculty and students. Program students now enjoy an over 80% or higher graduation and retention rate.

HEOP is regarded as one of the most successful programs of its type in the nation based upon student achievement and graduation rates. Much of its success can be attributed to the supportive nature of the program.

Mission Statement

The mission of Academic Opportunity Programs is to promote and provide access to higher education to residents* of New York State who are economically disadvantaged, academically under-served and traditionally under represented in higher education. We serve our constituents by providing a supportive network that fosters academic, social and personal development that inspires students to become fully active members of the campus community that enhances their persistence toward graduation and success beyond HWS.

*Academic Opportunity Programs also provides access to individuals outside New York State through the AOP HWS grant program which represents approximately 2% of OP student roster. Academic Opportunity Programs also provides support to traditional students of color, international and non-program students as needed.

Support services offered to students include the following:

Academic, personal, financial and career counseling: The Academic Opportunity Program staff can assist its students by providing essential counseling and advising support in the areas of academic, financial aid and social support. The staff also works closely with students to help them take advantage of many other campus resources available such as Career Services, the Counseling Center, faculty advisers, and the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Tutorials: Tutoring and academic support is provided by both Academic Opportunity Program staff and through the Colleges' Center for Teaching and Learning.

Full-need financial aid package: Financial aid is provided through a combination of grants, loans and work. First-year students also receive assistance in purchasing their books and supplies.

When admitted:

Summer Institute: When a student is accepted into Hobart and William Smith Colleges through the Academic Opportunity Programs office, that student will attend a five-week intensive academic summer program, required for all first time enrolling Academic Opportunity Program students. This intensive program includes courses in English/writing, grammar lab, mathematics and reading/study skills and a social equities class. In addition, group and individual counseling sessions are scheduled to assist students in making the transition to the college environment. The Summer Institute sets the foundation for making the successful transition into HWS through academic preparation in essential skills necessary for college success, and building identity and community as new college students. In addition to learning administrative processes of HWS, students receive in-depth orientations to learn about the services available on campus.

Fall term meetings and beyond: Upon returning to campus for the fall term all first year students are required to meet with their assigned Academic Opportunity Program adviser once a week. The meetings are designed for academic and social support. Graded and academic work in progress will be reviewed and discussed to ensure that the student is effectively utilizing the skill sets learned over the summer. These meeting are also a perfect time to discuss any issue that may need to be addressed. Meetings are typically scheduled for a half hour. In the fall all first-year students are required to sign an academic contract outlining all of the program expectations for student participation in Academic Opportunity Programs.



James A. Burruto
Director of Academic Opportunity Programs
288 Pulteney Street
Geneva, N.Y. 14456
Phone: 315-781-3319
Fax: 315-781-3888


Visit Admissions for application and eligibility requirements.



Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

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