By Olivia Damon

“Reclaim the W,” a program designed to help students get back into college, is embarking on its third year here at Western Michigan University and so far, its impact is already evident.


The program helps students who were academically dismissed get back on the right track and re-enrolled in the university to finish their degrees. In the first two years of the program, 71 students have participated; 46 in the Fall 2014 and 25 in Fall 2015.

The program has had success. According to WMU, 72 percent of students in the program had a good academic standing and 20 percent of those students received over a 3.0 GPA a year after  going through the program. OLIVIA — IS THIS RIGHT? I REWROTE IT.

The Reclaim the W program started in 2014 out of the Center for Academic Success Programs and the Registrar’s Office. It’s designed to help freshmen or transfer students who didn’t do well during their first year at WMU and were academically dismissed for receiving a grade point average under a 2.0. A number of different universities, such as Central Michigan University and Michigan State University, have been doing similar programs or offering some sort of re-enrollment process. These programs allow students who struggled in their first year to return to school, but with a strict set of guidelines to ensure students will follow more positive behaviors and  be on the right track to graduating.

In the Reclaim the W program, WMU students are required to maintain a 2.0 GPA or more during their semester back. To be admitted to the program, students must fill out an application, submit a 500-word essay, and have an adviser’s recommendation.

Kristin Bowns, a course instructor for Reclaim the W said, “Nationally, the graduation rate for all college students is 47 percent — 47 percent of students that start college will graduate in five years. The data is really limited, we only have two years’ worth, but we have a 68 percent success rate the following semester.”

Although there are only two years worth of data for this program, it has been showing positive results. “It’s not a lack of intelligence, it’s not a lack of ability, it’s just a lack of experience with this type of demanding work.” Bowns said.

Ricky Pope, a course instructor for Reclaim the W and counselor at Sindecuse Health Center, said that some students have a lack of motivation because they are not in a major or area of study that they are interested in, and their grades reflect it. , “(For) some students, not all of them, sometimes their parents are the people who are paying for it and they want them to do a certain major and that’s not what they want to do.” OLIVIA, IS THIS REWRITE CORRECT?

Current Reclaim the W student Sarah Alsulami spoke about what has changed this year during her third semester and what new habits she has adopted. OLIVIA — REPHRASE THIS FOR CLARITY. WHAT DO YOU MEAN DURING HER THIRD SEMESTER — SO SHE DID POORLY HER FIRST YEAR HERE AND NOW IS IN THE PROGRAM? SHE SAYS SHE LEARNED NEW HABITS THAT ARE HELPING HER SUCCEED ACADEMICALLY.

“The more I ask and the more I speak with the teacher, she or he is going to help me as much as they can. As long as I know I approached them, they can help me and won’t disappoint me.” Alsulami said.

Sarah Alsulami

Sarah Alsulami











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