Each summer, the ICP brings 16 students from LaGuardia Community College to the Barnard campus for a five-week residential program. Admission is based on past academic performance (especially in science classes), faculty recommendations, and an essay detailing each applicant's academic goals and aspirations. The program provides housing and weekday board as well as tuition, books, and intensive tutoring and counseling. Participants also receive a $500 stipend at the conclusion of the program. The goal of the summer program is to liberate these students from family and work responsibilities in their daily lives and provide them with a sample of life at a residential four-year college. In this way they are able to assess their own academic potential and consider the possibility of transferring to a four-year college after completing their studies at LaGuardia. Participating students register as "special students" at Barnard and enroll in two specially designed science courses that are team taught by Barnard and LaGuardia faculty. Each course also has a Teaching Assistant (a full-time Barnard or Columbia undergraduate) who attends all classes and provides nightly tutoring. The courses use lecture, laboratory, and discussion formats, and students complete assigned reading, problem sets, lab reports and short papers as homework. The summer program focuses on the development of writing skills. Students prepare one new written assignment each week, and a specially trained Writing Tutor meets individually with each student to critique the first draft of each assignment. Students then prepare a second draft of each assignment, which is read and graded by faculty.
The academic side of the program is augmented with access to the library and computer facilities at Barnard College. In addition, students have memberships at Columbia University's Dodge Fitness Center, where recreational facilities (swimming pool, aerobics facilities, basketball and squash courts, exercise machines, and a running track) are available. Regular study breaks are held in the evenings.
The summer program also provides intensive counseling for the participants. Each student has a weekly half-hour conference with an academic adviser to discuss any personal and academic issues that arise. The advisers also provide information and counseling about career options and academic choices that would facilitate the students' transfer to four-year colleges or professional programs. We also organized a series of weekly group counseling sessions led by Barnard experts on special topics: study skills, time management, stress management, the transfer process, and financial aid. A Resident Assistant serves as the major on-site problem solver and general liaison to the Barnard-Columbia community. She organizes study breaks and helps the participants in any way possible. The TA's from the courses also live and eat with the program participants, serving as auxiliary Residential Life staff. By merging the residential and academic aspects of the program, we are able to provide the participants with a coherent and nearly seamless experience of life at a liberal arts college. They lived, breathed, and ate the program, always with members of the staff who were available to assist with academic or personal problems and concerns.