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Beloit’s Summer Bridge program helps students soar

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

                       Beloit College’s federally-funded TRiO-SSS program has track record of success

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at dickinsonh@beloit.edu or 608-363-2849

Last week, a group of 23 students from as close as Wisconsin to as far away as Louisiana and Los Angeles arrived at Beloit College. Most of them are among the first in their families to attend college. To assist them in their early endeavors at the college, Beloit offers a federally-funded program--and a collection of staff, faculty and upperclassmen--intent on helping them get a strong start.

Called “Summer Bridge,” the program (organized by the Student Support Services office) offers students an early introduction to the college. Over six days leading up to the start of classes participants sit in on mock class presentations, prepare assignments, meet with their first-year advisers, network with key staff and much more.

Why all this before the semester begins?

“It’s an opportunity for these students to come to campus to build a community and have access to key faculty and staff,” said Jennifer Stitt, assistant director of Student Support Services. “They get to know the ins and outs of the program and how they’ll participate throughout the year, so when they start their college career they have a sense of belonging and confidence. They’ll already have had some smaller successes and know who they need to know on campus.”

It seems to be working. According to the most up-to-date numbers, 97 percent of Summer Bridge participants persisted from year one to year two at Beloit. One recent success story is Amanda Lawnicki’14, who studied abroad in Russia, served as a Weissberg Scholar, participated in Model UN, and job shadowed at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Current students also praise Summer Bridge for helping them succeed in college. “My Beloit experience would not have been the same if I were not in it,” said Brandon Diop’17. “It prepared me for Beloit, having different college prep lessons and knowing the different people and offices on campus. It keeps you in check and on top of your work.”

Dewight Walker’17 added: “For me, it helped me realize that college is a different ball game and that I would have to buckle down more and stay focused.”