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Administrative Issues Journal

Abstract

Idaho State University’s Bengal Bridge is a summer program designed to help students successfully transition from high school to their first year of college at Idaho State University. All Bridge students at ISU take two general education courses, plus an additional credit of supplemental instruction focused on academic strategies specific to the disciplines represented by those general education courses, as well as a First Year Transition (ACAD) course to facilitate engagement with and acculturation to the university community—a total of nine to 10 credits in just seven weeks. Bridge students are also supported by one-to-one academic coaching, supplemental tutoring, peer mentors, and additional study labs.

What began as a summer “jumpstart” for a closely-monitored and tight-knit cohort of students in a specific demographic is now becoming the academic equivalent of “boot camp” for a larger, diverse population more representative of the typical fall semester student demographics in terms of the range of academic performance, financial resources, etc. Because this expanded Bengal Bridge is in an early stage of development and still evolving, we realized that we needed a more comprehensive understanding of the Bridge population if we are to accurately assess Bridge’s impact on FY student retention. To begin this process, we began collecting descriptive statistics and completing various surface level analyses. Ideally, the data will allow us to better serve future students, improve allocation of resources, and conclude whether participation in Bengal Bridge, in its present iteration, increases retention to the fall semester and beyond.

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