IUPUI Summer Bridge program prepares incoming freshmen for initial college year

  • Aug. 15, 2016


INDIANAPOLIS -- A record number of incoming freshmen at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis are in the midst of what may be the most important two weeks of their collegiate careers.

About 1,100 freshmen are attending IUPUI's Summer Bridge program, which helps incoming students "bridge" the gap between high school and college. Participants live on campus and attend specialized classes to help them learn about academic expectations, prepare for their initial collegiate year and become accustomed to the IUPUI campus for two weeks in advance of the start of the fall semester, which this year is Aug. 22.

There has been significant growth of the program since it began in 2001, said program director Heather Bowman. "Our numbers have continued to grow steadily over the last few years, and most academic schools on campus are now represented."

In addition, all freshman international students are required to attend Summer Bridge, which continues to enhance the diversity of the program.

The IUPUI Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support reports:

  • Summer Bridge participants have consistently higher GPAs after their first year than nonparticipants.
  • Overall, Summer Bridge participants had significantly higher one-year retention rates compared to nonparticipants. The one-year retention rate at IUPUI for participants was 75 percent, compared to 67 percent for nonparticipants.
  • Summer Bridge participants were more likely than nonparticipants to have completed 30 or more credit hours after their first fall and spring semesters.
  • African-American students who participated had better grades and were more likely to be retained than African-American students who did not participate.

Another telling measure of the program's success is how students view the program once they've completed it, Bowman said. "Ninety-six percent of Summer Bridge participants agreed that participating improved their ability to adjust to college life," she said. "And 98 percent would recommend Summer Bridge to other first-year students."

Students at Summer Bridge

Students at Summer Bridge

Print Quality Photo

Richard Schneider
Harriett Bennett