Students completing the Success First Summer Bridge program say they have found a warm welcome to college, personal coaching toward their goals and earned up to six undergraduate credits before the first day of Fall Semester.
The program’s closing ceremony is 1-3 p.m. on Thursday, August 6 in the V. James Eardley Student Center at Truckee Meadows Community College. The event is free and open to family and friends of students, and residents of the Reno-Sparks community.
Participants qualified for the program by being first-time college students and the first generation in their family to attend college toward a degree. They completed an online application including an essay question about why they would like to attend. Classes were held 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. four days a week for six weeks starting June 29.
Students say that the program is well-named as a "bridge"
Yesenia Godinez, graduate of Damonte Ranch High School, attended the Success First Summer Bridge Program.
She credits TMCC student ambassadors with giving her personal attention and advice about the start of her college education.
“The staff, Karen and Laura, made it very easy to have someone to talk to about college,” Godinez said. “They advised me about the dental assisting and dental hygiene programs and my career route.”
Godinez has decided on the dental hygiene program because she would like to eventually attend dental school and earn her D.D.S.
“My cousin Victoria took the program about two years ago, so I was waiting to be recruited,” she said. “It’s an amazing opportunity and a great help to smoothly transition from high school to college.”
The program has helped her move into the college environment by giving personalized attention and information about a wide array of student services and instructional support programs. Success workshops are part of Summer Bridge.
“I want to use all the resources that TMCC offers for academics,” she said. “Everyone at TMCC is very welcoming – I feel very at home here.”
Colby Bloom, graduate of Edward C. Reed High School, said that he was attracted to Success First Summer Bridge by the opportunities for tuition grants. Students finishing the summer program and enrolling full time in the Fall are eligible for a grant.
“By completing the program, you’re awarded an $800 grant toward the Fall,” he said. “Now I can focus on school and getting A’s, as opposed to focusing on working more hours at a job.”
He is interested in computer science, much like his dad who specializes in computer networking. But he would like to emphasize computer programming in his own studies.
“It’s been great to get a head start at college,” he said. “It’s a personal program – you see the same people every day and they get to know you better to help you with what you’d like to accomplish.”
Immersion in the college atmosphere helps students know what to expect
Godinez’s favorite part of the program has been the academic atmosphere.
“In high school, people don’t take it as seriously,” she said. “In Summer Bridge, people are motivated and they’re here for a reason with an educational mindset.”
Bloom enjoys the curriculum’s format.
“When you just focus on two classes, you can really learn how to manage your time,” he said. “I’ve learned more about organizing my school, work and personal life along with recreational time.”
Bloom and Godinez are earning six college credits for their math class and an educational, career and personal development course, EPY 101. The math class is either Intermediate Algebra: MATH 96 or Precalculus: MATH 126, based on where a student scores on the ACCUPLACER® placement examination.
This Fall, Godinez is focused on accomplishing prerequisites and diversity requirements. She decided to enroll in 15 credits, three above the minimum to continue in Success First.
“I want to be one of the 12 Dental Hygiene students accepted – it’s a very competitive program,” she said.
Bloom is registered for 12 credits in the Fall and has his goals well visualized.
“Becoming a computer engineer is the first stage of my career, and then I’ll build on that to my second goal to incorporate what I’ve learned into creating video games and apps,” he said.
Success First Summer Bridge participants will meet with a Success Coach during their first year in college to support academic success.
Godinez highly recommends the program to other first-generation college students.
“I already have recommended the program to friends who are a junior and senior in high school this year,” she said.