Challenge is a five-week academic preparation program that is held every summer for incoming freshmen. Students from all over the world, including the U.S., Puerto Rico, Colombia, Nigeria, Guyana, Mexico, Venezuela, and Panama, participate in the Challenge program.
Over the past five years, Challenge students who FULLY ENGAGED in the program had an average fall first semester GPA of 3.58. Yes, that was not a misprint…3.58! The majority population freshmen average GPA was approximately 3.30, and the non-Challenge minority average was 3.07. The term "fully engaged" simply means that these students took advantage of Challenge's opportunities and performed successfully. The Challenge program is not easy; being "fully engaged" takes hard work. If working hard for five weeks can lead to a first semester GPA of 3.58, then the program is fully worth the $500 program fee. In fact, if your student fully engages in Challenge, they will most likely receive a partial or full refund from the program.
During Challenge, students study Calculus 1, Calculus 2, General Chemistry, Chemistry for Chemistry-based majors, Computer Science, and Academic Writing/Seminar on a daily basis. They take adventures to Tennessee for whitewater rafting, a theater for the world premiere of a play, different community service project locations, corporate manufacturing facility tours in West Georgia, Center for Civil and Human Rights, to the Campus Recreational Center for a basketball match, soccer match, and salsa lessons. Challenge has featured dynamic speakers like Alduan Tartt, Calvin Mackie, and Gregory Ellison II. Students mingle with corporate representatives from Southwire, Procter and Gamble, Intel, 3M, Air Products, John Deere, Eaton, BP, Exxon, and others.
Many of you may be thinking the same question: “Can I really get all of this for only $500?” The answer is "YES!"
The Challenge program is offered by OMED: Educational Services. OMED is an academic unit of Georgia Tech that has been charged with creating and implementing educational services to positively impact the performance and retention of underrepresented students (African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, and Multi-Racial). However, all students are welcome to participate in Challenge as well as other programs.
Georgia Tech is consistently ranked as one of the nation's top schools for awarding bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in STEM fields to African-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and Native Americans. OMED has put together a program that costs more than $2,500 per student, yet only asks that you contribute a fraction of this cost. This is due to great contributions from the state and our corporate partners. OMED is a data-driven organization and uses statistical analysis as a basis of all of its programs, philosophies, and modeling. We want your student to succeed, so we have dedicated resources to enhance the probability of their success.
The Challenge program began in the summer of 1980. The program initially started out of the necessity to provide minority freshman a means of introduction to the strenuous academic environment of engineering. Rapid growth and exposure of the program caused participation numbers to rise from approximately 30 students in the early stages to as many as 80-100 students in recent years.
In the beginning, OMED found strong correlation between students' first-term GPA and their graduation rates five years later. As a result, in 1990, OMED implemented a paradigm shift to reflect a more comprehensive academic model with increased student expectations based on success strategies. This shift was directly applied to the Challenge program. From 1993 to present, the Challenge program coins itself as an “Academic Pre-Season," which stresses hard work on the front end of a students’ academic journey and significant benefits at the end of the journey.
While Challenge has historically targeted minority students, the program is open to all freshmen students.