When visiting Augsburg’s campus, it is common for a potential student to sit in on a class or two, visit with a professor or coach, have lunch in the cafeteria, and even spend a night in the residence halls. But few students can have a preview of college life like the one available to students in the TRiO Summer Bridge program.
Now in its tenth year, Summer Bridge gives 25 admitted students an opportunity to bond with other new students and to learn what college will be like for them in the fall. For five weeks, students take public speaking and the first required religion course and participate in a variety of activities and workshops designed to get them ready for college.
TRiO participants must demonstrate academic need and either be a first-generation college student, a low-income student as defined by federal aid guidelines, or have a documented disability. Many students are in fact the first members of their families to attend college.
In addition to their courses, students learn about the financial aid application process, time management, and study skills. They also have outings to become familiar with the neighborhoods surrounding campus, including the popular “Amazing Race” scavenger hunt.
Ozzie Valverde [TOP] says Summer Bridge has given him a head start on being a student. “I feel like I have a good idea what it’s going to be like,” he said. He added that the program has helped him feel more comfortable with the environment and has helped him form a bond with the other TRiO students.
Experiencing the differences between high school and college life is an important part of Summer Bridge. For Kristy Williams [CENTER], meeting new students and having class together has been rewarding. “I feel like there’s more freedom, and it’s more engaging than high school,” she said. “You can express how you feel and there’s less judgment.”
While Summer Bridge does prepare students for college life, they know the start of their fall term will be somewhat different. “I know I will need to find time to study and do homework,” said Kai Smith [BOTTOM]. He said he knows the freedom of being in college also comes with added responsibility. That is why the program also teaches students to access the resources they will need when their classes and lives become more challenging.
The Summer Bridge students agree that their experience has been helpful, and while they are sad to say goodbye to each other on August 11, they are excited to return to campus in September. Williams said, “This is the best thing that could have happened to me in my lifetime.”