Summer Prep Academy Prepares Incoming Islanders for Success

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A bad night’s sleep, a missed breakfast or feelings of anxiousness are all reasons a student might fail a test they’ve otherwise prepared for. While doing poorly on one exam might not be the end of the world, failing the TSI, better known as the Texas Success Initiative, can cause major disruptions in an academic journey. That’s because, without a passing TSI score, incoming college or university freshman in Texas must enroll in remedial/developmental courses, which don’t count for credit toward a degree plan.

For the past three years, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has hosted the TSIA Summer Prep Academy, a program within the federally funded Project GRAD, aimed at helping students pass the TSI, therefore avoiding remedial/developmental courses. The Summer Prep Academy, which is free and open to all eligible incoming Islander freshman along with Islander students currently in developmental courses, is now accepting students. The first session runs June 11-29; the second session runs July 9-27, and each session includes a free catered lunch. The three-week program includes TSI prep from faculty members in small student-to-teacher ratios along with the opportunity to retake the TSI at no charge. The prep academy also includes other benefits that last though the student’s entire freshman year.

Angie Rodriguez is a pre-nursing major at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi who just finished up her freshman year. Last summer, as an incoming freshman, she chose to attend the TSIA Summer Prep Academy after failing the math portion of the TSI. She says the main reason she signed up is because she didn’t want to spend money on courses that didn’t count toward graduation.

“The academy was helpful because the classes were small, and I got tons of one-on-one time with a math professor,” said Rodriguez. “Not only did I end up passing the TSI after just three weeks in the academy, I also got to be on campus earlier than I would have normally. Once my freshman year officially started, I had already built great relationships on campus and was familiar with the many resources A&M-Corpus Christi has to offer.”

Rodriguez says that she especially enjoys the perks the TSIA Summer Prep Academy offers, including one year of continued mentorship, a free lending library and an exclusive Project GRAD study lab with free printing.

“I’ve been able to borrow textbooks, a calculator and a laptop this past semester,” said Rodriguez. “I can’t say I would have been this successful without the help of the summer academy.”

Rodriguez was registered for statistics this past semester and is happy to report she earned an 88 in her class.

“I’m so glad I got the help I needed to be successful in college,” said Rodriguez.

Deshawna Colvin is program manager for the TSIA Summer Prep Academy at A&M-Corpus Christi. She says it’s not just the TSI prep that benefits students, but the additional resources the program offers, like the “College 101” class, which is held each Friday during the academy.

“During College 101, we collaborate with the Bell Library, Career Services, Recreational Sports, and financial aid for more in-depth interactions,” said Colvin. “We help our students create a true support network within the University and with their peers. Cohort accountability and sense of belonging are essential aspects of the program’s success.”

Colvin reports the program, now in its third year, has shaped Islander students who are not only excelling the classroom, but are leaders in other areas at well.

“Our students get a jump start on campus life,” said Colvin. “They’re now out there working great campus jobs, they are involved in student government, are orientation leaders, members of fraternities and sororities and give of their time as volunteers in the community.”

Of the 49 students who have successfully completed the TSIA Summer Prep Academy, 57 percent were deemed “college-ready” and didn’t need to enroll in remedial/developmental classes. The TSIA Summer Prep Academy accepts 30 students each session. To learn more about the application process, visit