Colorado College’s Bridge Scholars Program, which serves as a gateway into college life for first-generation students, has been recognized as a “Model of Excellence” by University Business. The Models of Excellence program “honors colleges and universities that have implemented innovative, effective, and interdepartmental initiatives that are bolstering student success.”
University Business notes that continuous support for students helps unleash student success, and CC’s research-based approach to supporting students from underrepresented backgrounds certainly fits that model.
Emily Chan, associate dean of academic programs and strategic initiatives, cites 15 years of studies that illustrate the importance of integrating such students into the full collegiate environment. The Bridge Scholar Program facilitates entry into college life for students and provides a social support system. “There are moments when students might question, ‘Do I belong here? Do they really want me here?’ That sense of belonging is crucial,” says Chan.
CC’s Bridge Scholars Program is a way to “give students a ‘running start’ on claiming and building their CC experience,” Chan says. Bridge Scholars arrive on campus two weeks prior to the fall semester of their first year and participate in a series of two-week, team-taught interdisciplinary courses.
Students also take part in co-curricular and extracurricular activities, which help develop relationships with mentors and peers. Throughout their first year, Bridge Scholars continue to develop a collegiate mindset by engaging in social events, mentor check-ins, faculty panels, advising sessions, a financial literacy workshop, and other activities.
The Bridge Scholars Program helps support CC’s strategic plan, “Building on the Block.”