Learning Excellence Academics Program

Learning Excellence Academics Program

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Program dates:
July 9 - August 10, 2017

Application deadline:
April 14, 2017

Eligibility Requirements

The Learning Excellence Academics Program (LEAP) is offered to rising junior and senior level high school students and rising college freshman that are planning to attend college. Students must be blind or vision impaired in order to participate. They also must have access to an existing e-mail account (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.), the necessary technology to participate in college classes and complete assignments (e.g., laptop or tablet with access technology such as JAWS, Zoomtext, etc.), a valid Commonwealth of Virginia ID card, the ability to take care of his/her own medical and personal care needs and a method for taking written notes during class.

Program Description

LEAP is a five-week college preparatory pipeline program for students to explore STEM-H majors and careers. It is also designed to help students better understand the needs during the transition to college from high school, specifically the increased personal responsibility, level of expectation, and independent time management. This program is a collaboration between the VCU Division for Health Sciences Diversity, VCU Division for Academic Success,  The VA Department for the Blind and Vision-Impaired,  and the Capital Area Health Education Center (CapAHEC). LEAP students will participate in college level writing, math and science courses taught by VCU professors, and will spend time each week in the lab through our VCU Clinical Lab Sciences department.  

The five-week, residential program provides:

  • An opportunity for rising high school juniors and seniors and high school graduates from spring 2017 to assess their college-readiness skills, enhance awareness of the academic and blindness-related demands of college, and evaluate ability to manage time and priorities
  • Classes taught on the VCU campus by college professors and/or graduate students
  • Classes graded according to collegiate standards (not reflected on transcript)
  • Housing in the VRCBVI dormitory

Students are required to participate in the full five-week program. A minimum of six accepted applicants required for the program to take place.

Application Requirements

A completed online application (The first question asks you which organization you are affiliated with. Please select “DBVI.”), GPA of 2.5 or above and two letters of reference (one must be an academic reference).

Please mail, fax, or email the following items to VCU, Division for Academic Success:
1. Documented GPA of 2.5 or above
2. Two letters of reference (one academic reference)

Program Contact Information

Debbie Smith at (804) 828-4609 or dlroberts@vcu.edu.

For additional information about the LEAP program, or to schedule a tour of VRCBVI, please contact: Greg Chittum, Special Projects Coordinator at (804) 371-3151 or greg.chittum@dbvi.virginia.gov.

Virginia Commonwealth University
Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences
Division for Health Sciences Diversity
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