Start Now, a unique partnership between SUNY Oswego and Jefferson Community College, gets students on the road to success.

"So it's a support program that provides an easy pathway from Jefferson Community College to SUNY Oswego," said Sandra Montalvo, a SUNY Oswego admission counselor and Start Now coordinator. "Most of the Start Now students they do apply directly to Oswego for admissions. We can't admit them directly but a lot of these students we do see the potential in and we just see that they need some additional support."

One of them is SUNY Oswego sophomore Kylik Williams.

"I'm so happy that I had an experience to experience college before I came here, like a college experience, because I feel like if I would just would have rushed into Oswego I probably wouldn't be able to balance," Williams said.

"They start at JCC," Montalvo explained. "They can do one year, they could do two years and earn the associate's degree if they choose to and then transfer to Oswego."

Amanda Sclafani, at sophomore at JCC, recognizes how the opportunity has helped her transition to college.

"I'm happy that I chose to come up here instead of just going to the local college because I wanted to go to Oswego but I felt that I really wasn't ready, so JCC gave me the opportunity to be ready," Sclafani said. "It taught me how to do college life, how to live on my own. I enjoy being here a lot."

JCC sophomore Joel Perez came to realize starting in the college's North Country partner represented part of a journey.

"I was very disappointed at first," Perez said. "I was like, okay, I kinda wanted to just go right there and do what I have to do, but I'm really glad that I came here because I met a lot of great people"

("I'm gonna talk about the paper in a second," a faculty member says.)

"I'm really happy with what I've gotten," Perez said.

"So I recruit students for both Oswego and both for Start Now," Montalvo said. "I work with them while I'm at JCC. I spend about one day a week here, sometimes more."

"Sandra gives a lot of support," Sclafani added. "She constantly sends out emails about when she'll be on campus, when we can set up an appointment with her and when I go to see her she always has a folder about what my credits will transfer over to, so that helps because I don't know if I'm taking classes that matter when I transfer."

"And then also working on developing some of their college success skills," Montalvo noted. "A lot of time management, so some of these students come in a little bit underprepared in those areas, time management, study skills, note-taking skills."

"I learned to be responsible not having my mom on my shoulder telling me get your stuff done," Sclafani said. "Because no one else is gonna do it for you, you gotta do it for yourself."

Demitra Bowen, now a sophomore at SUNY Oswego, also found the program eased her way into college.

"The program definitely helped me transition way better than I thought it would," Bowen said. "Because I was coming from a small community college and that was my first year of college."

"That's part of why I love my job because the feedback I get from the students, it's just amazing," Montalvo said. 

"JCC is a huge help to transitioning from high school to college, because it is a big jump and that's exactly what I've told my friends who were in high school, that it's a big jump and Start Now really helped me get that push that college is different than high shool," Sclafani said.

"It's helped me a lot with processing how to transfer to Oswego and be okay with where I'm at," Perez said.

"Another favorite part of my job and the program for me is when those students transfer to Oswego, when they get that acceptance letter," Montalvo explained. "That's, to me that's everything with the program, because that's the main goal for us at Oswego is helping these students be successful at the two year level, helping them get to the four year level."

"I feel accomplished," Bowen said. "I actually went through, I did it, and I did good. I did the best that I can do, and now I can actually go out in the world and use this knowledge that I learned and put it towards something."

"I have so much Oswego stuff already in my room," Sclafani said. "I'm counting down the days that I get to go there because I'm really excited."

For more information on Start Now, visit