Bridge Program

With this year’s high school seniors’ in-school classes ending unexpectedly, many of the students were left without guidance for their upcoming adventure into college. 

The Phoenix Public Library’s College Depot Assistant Director, Kristopher Lukens Seydel, created a new program called Summer Bridge for these 2020 seniors. 

The Summer Bridge Program allows students to work virtually with an academic advisor to create an individual summer plan based on what steps they have completed and what they need to do to ensure they’re prepared to walk onto campus in the fall. 

“Sometimes they will fill out their FAFSA and then think that they’re ready to go, just because of a lack of awareness of everything,” Seydel said. “What this bridge program does is kind of helps make sure that students have awareness.”

The pilot program is currently helping first-generation college students and low-income families making under $42,000 a year. In addition, a second program started in 2016 called College Depot helps better educate students on how to prepare for college. 

The workshop was designed by current college students to give incoming freshmen tips, hacks and strategies to be successful in college preparedness. 

“Since 2016, 77 percent of our students successfully matriculated into college,” Seydel said. “In 2019, it went up to 79 percent.”

The Summer Bridge Program is different in that a group of students are assigned to an advisor who sets up an orientation for each student. Individual summer plans are created and then the advisor and student work together to ensure that every step is complete before the start of freshman year. 

“It’s exciting and nerve-wracking to see it actually moving forward,” Seydel said. “Within two days, we had more than 22 appointments and then just a flurry more since then.”

Seventy-five students have signed up so far and are excited to start their journey to completing their checklist for college. 

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