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Administrative Issues Journal

Abstract

Many colleges are pursuing innovative alternative approaches for the development of education I that aims to accelerate students’ progress in gaining important academic competencies. Summer bridge programs are one such approach. These bridge programs offer underprepared and at-risk students the opportunity to advance toward college-level coursework during the summer before their freshman year. These summer bridge programs have grown increasingly popular, as a strategy for providing students with the foundational college courses, knowledge and skills required for college success. Many integrated programmatic approaches and resources have been developed to address this issue, including general education freshman courses in reading, writing, peer counseling programs, and upperclassmen and faculty mentoring programs providing students with academic preparation and social support. This review examines recent research on bridge program conduct with four selected summer bridge programs from diverse public, open-access universities in large urban and non-urban areas with diverse backgrounds, experience, and socioeconomic status of students. This review concludes with conflicting evidence of the effectiveness of summer bridge programs in student retention, self-efficacy, academic improvements, and persistence. It offers recommendations for successful academic practices and suggestions on current and potential evaluation methods for use in future assessments of bridge programs as a continual programmatic revision to meet the needs of the participating students.

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