Auburn University offers calculus prep courses for fall's incoming freshmen

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Before classes begin this fall at Auburn University, a group of about 70 incoming freshmen will already have been on campus from Aug. 4-12 for "Plainsmen's Prep: A Bridge to Calculus," a new program that will give the students a chance to review pre-calculus and calculus topics needed to be successful in their college courses.

Sponsored by Auburn's Office of Academic Support and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the program will also help students acclimate to the rigors of the Auburn University environment. Interaction with Auburn faculty, staff and undergraduate students will aid in their transition and provide a head start to success at Auburn.

"We know that some students are coming to Auburn and taking longer to complete their degrees because they have to take prerequisite courses before they can take the courses needed to fulfill their major," said Dana Jablonski, director of the Office of Academic Support. "In addition, many students are coming with some knowledge, but may be rusty in pre-calculus or calculus concepts due to a variety of reasons. The program was designed to assist any student who is feeling uneasy about succeeding in calculus at Auburn. The program gives them a chance to review pre-calculus and calculus topics needed to be successful in their courses."

Participating students will be exposed to more than 30 hours of pre-calculus concepts developed and taught by Auburn mathematics faculty. The curriculum was created based on faculty experiences and observations of the information most needed for success. Participants will hear lectures and utilize classroom technology, as well as experience small group study sessions and collaborative learning activities led by faculty, staff and successful undergraduate students. Workshops on time management, study skills, and more will also be offered. At the end of the program, participants will take a mathematics placement exam.

"A few years ago, the dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics, Nicholas Giordano, spoke to the math department about the length of time it was taking students to finish their degrees," said Regina Jackson, precalculus coordinator in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. "We discussed that a major factor to longer times was having to complete prerequisite courses based on ability. This program was created as an avenue for students to receive the prerequisite skills without adding time until graduating. The program is designed to show students what they will encounter in their math class, what resources they will have and what skills they will need to develop to be successful. There are a few community building activities, homework and assessments to truly get a well-rounded snapshot of a semester at Auburn."

This year's participants represent a variety of disciplines from the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, College of Sciences and Mathematics, Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, College of Architecture, Design and Construction, College of Agriculture and University College. In addition to intensive mathematics training, participants will be provided extracurricular activities that encourage community building and socialization with other incoming first-year students.

"We have planned some fun for them too, since we know they need to do some things other than math! They will participate in the Auburn University challenge course, visit the raptor center, and have a game night," said Jablonski. "The activities outside of the classroom are routed in helping build community, leadership skills, help students make friends and adjust to their new college life by feeling like a part of the Auburn Family."

For more information on Plainsmen's Prep: A Bridge to Calculus, go to

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