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On My Mind: A Bridge to Success

By Alice Picardo
Director, First Year Experience

Every fall, many of the county's newly graduated seniors choose to begin their college journey at MCC. This year, many of these students will have chosen to jumpstart their college education by participating in the 2009 High School Summer Bridge (HSSB) program.

The program, developed in collaboration with the English Department and the First-Year Experience Initiative in 2007, provides an intensive, one week program of study in developmental reading and/or writing. Eligible students are those who have graduated from high school in June and have taken Accuplacer/ Writeplacer placement exams in reading and writing. These students are invited to take the program if they have not quite made the grade acceptable for exemption from a lengthier developmental course.

Students who successfully complete the program begin their first semester in college with schedules that include major and general education courses such as English Composition, Introduction to Psychology and Criminal Justice, rather than developmental reading and writing. Additional benefits for students include significant cost savings in tuition dollars, fall schedules that support scholarship and grant guidelines and a tremendous sense of accomplishment as they begin their college careers. The program also provides students with opportunities to meet other new students, faculty, and support service professionals from Student Activities and the Department of Counseling and Career Services.

The majority of students who have participated in HSSB successfully complete the program. Tracking the progress of these students in their first semester has shown competitive passing rates in English Composition 121, the first English composition class taken in the fall semester. Semester-to-semester retention rates for HSSB participants are significantly higher than average as well. These students begin their college career with confidence that continues for many semesters to come.

Former participants can attest that HSSB helped them not only pass the course they needed, but also started them on the road to a successful college career at Middlesex County College. MCC welcomes high school class of 2009 to participate in the program. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to "begin before the beginning" and to become set as a college student with confidence and motivation.