Vanessa Kime

Vanessa Kime discovers path to success through summer program

About one week after high school graduation, Vanessa left home in Cedar Falls and moved into a residence hall at Iowa State University with fellow students in the Academic Program for Excellence, or APEX. From there, she spent eight weeks taking classes and learning the ropes of college life.

“APEX is for first-year multicultural students coming in to Iowa State,” she said. “It bridges the gap between high school and your freshman year of college.”

From taking accelerated classes to having study tables and peer mentor sessions, Vanessa learned everything about Iowa State, such as how to access campus resources to how to study for classes. After realizing college courses are more difficult than her high school courses, Vanessa is glad she had the summer to figure out her study habits.

“You come into college and you think, ‘I’ve been doing school for 12 years, another year won’t be hard,’ but the jump is a lot,” she said. “I didn’t think it would be as hard as it was to work for the A.”

Aside from learning about how to manage coursework, Vanessa also became close friends with fellow students in the program. Some of her best memories were made in between studying and classes, where she and others in the program relaxed in the residence halls together.

“Three of my best friends were in APEX too,” she said. “My roommate, my suitemate, and another girl on my floor all got really close, and we still hang out all the time.”

For multicultural high school seniors who are nervous about making the transition from high school to college, Vanessa says there’s no better way to adjust than with APEX, and recommends all eligible students apply to the program.

“I wish all students of color could do it,” she said. “Multicultural Student Affairs is a great community, and I give a ton of credit to this program.”