July 14, 2006

EOP Program is Bridge to Success for First-Generation Freshman

While most of San Diego State University’s incoming freshmen are enjoying the summer sun, a record number of first-time freshmen in the Educational Opportunity Program will be soaking up valuable knowledge about how to succeed in college during the 22nd annual Summer Bridge program.

Summer Bridge gives select EOP freshmen the opportunity to get a head start on their college education and experience residential life at SDSU, through August 11.

Students will spend five weeks in intensive academic studies designed to earn up to seven academic units or to develop needed writing, math and study skills focused toward meeting SDSU’s competency requirements. Students will live in the residence halls, familiarize themselves with the university and explore the city of San Diego.

“From sunup to sundown, these students follow a tight schedule of classes, tutoring and support sessions,” said Jay Anderson, associate director of EOP. “It allows these students to get on the right track before the fall semester starts. What we’ve learned is that students who are on track from day one stay in school longer and are more likely to graduate.”

The program is offered to first-time freshmen accepted into EOP, an undergraduate program designed to admit, retain and graduate historically low-income, first-generation college students.

“While EOP students are admitted to SDSU on their own accord, they do need more help adjusting to the college environment,” Anderson said. “Summer Bridge has been extremely successful in acclimating students to university life and preparing them for classes at the university level.”

For SDSU sophomore Mich-ael Love, last year’s Summer Bridge program made college less of a shock. A first-generation college student, Love said the most important thing he learned was time management.

“I was excited and nervous and didn’t know what to expect,” said Love, who now works in the EOP office and will help with the program this summer. “After Summer Bridge I was more confident and I learned how to be the best student I could be.”

Once accepted to SDSU, first-time freshmen who have applied to and been accepted into EOP can apply for the Summer Bridge program. Those selected for Summer Bridge pay $35 to participate in the program. SDSU’s EOP pays for room, board, class registration fees, books, tutoring, supplies, and Residential/Peer counselors, all of which amount to more than $3,000 per student.

Students in last year’s Summer Bridge completed more units and had higher first semester grade point averages compared to those first time freshmen students with the same socio-economic background who did not participate, said Anderson.

Anderson said Summer Bridge and other support programs have helped create sharp increases in graduates from the EOP program. The number of EOP graduates has almost doubled over the past six years, with more than 1,000 receiving their degree this spring.

Overall, SDSU received a record 52,000 undergraduate applications for the fall 2006 semester to fill 9,100 available spots. SDSU expects to enroll more than 5,000 first-time freshmen this fall.

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