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Opportunity Program helps new students succeed in college

The first year of college is challenging for even the most prepared students. Ensuring that students have support and resources from day one increases retention and student satisfaction. This is why the Student Success Center at Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC) developed the Opportunity Program in 2011.

Students admitted into the Opportunity Program typically fall below WLC’s admission requirements; however, with intentional support, these students will succeed in college. Each year, WLC’s Opportunity Program serves 20 first-year students as they transition from high school to college.

Derrick Brungraber is one of those students. He grew up in Door County and attended Gibraltar High School in Fish Creek. He will be the first in his immediate family of seven and his extended family to graduate with a four-year degree. As a first-generation student, Derrick appreciates the value of attending WLC, as well as the challenges of transitioning from a small community to a big city.

“Derrick has grown over these past four years and has made WLC his home,” said Becky Jeffers, the student success counselor who met with Brungraber while he was in the Opportunity Program. “He was unsure of his major, but he worked hard and took the initiative to meet with faculty and staff who could help him find a path on which he will be happy and successful.”

“Through the Opportunity Program, we focus on connecting students with faculty and staff who help them balance academic, social, and personal expectations,” said Jeffers. “Students also learn skills for studying and time management, receive proactive academic advising, and explore potential career options.”

Brungraber is now a senior focusing on an interdisciplinary major in Psychology, Business, and Biology. He has fully embraced the resources made available to him at WLC. “I am grateful for the support WLC has given me,” said Brungraber. “Everything I am experiencing is giving me the knowledge and skills I need to be successful in college and in life.”