Incoming, first-generation students attending Bridge Program this week

Twenty-eight incoming, first-generation students will attend the Bridge Program this week on the Ripon College Campus. This is the sixth year the program will be held.

The Bridge Program, sponsored by Student Support Services, helps incoming, first-generation college students make a smooth personal and social transition to college life, assist with building a community of engaged learners and understand the connection between a college degree and a successful life and career after graduating from college.

Students are exposed to a wide range of information about best practices related to academic achievement, the value of a four-year college degree, what to expect in an actual college classroom and how to successfully function in a college environment,” says Dan Krhin, director of Student Support Services..

“The bridge program originated with SSS receiving a grant from the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), underwritten by the Walmart Educational Foundation, to help in the retention of first-generation students. Ripon was one of 20 schools to receive this two-year $100,000 grant out of more than 200 applicant schools.”

The program now is funded under a U.S. Department of Education Student Support Services grant.

During the program, students will form a support network with other first-year students, hear about unique opportunities available during their time at Ripon College, gain an introduction to the Student Support Services tutoring service, develop valuable study skills, meet and work with current Ripon College students, and move in early.

Peer contacts, current Ripon students, are an integral part to the Bridge Program because they provide a constant source of information and support for new students. The peer contacts for 2015 are Jadee Kellogg ’16, Chuchen Tan ’16, Liz Sigsworth ’15, Brooke Olson ’16, Chrissy Nguyen ’17, Ricardo Jaimes ’17, Courtney Olson ’18, Colleen Elzinga ’18, Jacob Baus ’18, Leah Blazkovec ’18 and Cordell Walker ’18. Throughout the year, peer contacts will check in with their bridge contacts to offer advice.

Benefits of joining the Bridge Program go beyond the students’ first year of college, Krhin says. “Another longer-term benefit to Bridge is that 11 former Bridge participants went on to become McNair Scholars through the U.S. Dept. of Education McNair Scholars graduate school preparation program,” he says.

Lauren Hince ’18
Blaine, Minnesota

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