Feds recognize success of YSU Summer Bridge

YSU Summer Bridge

2012 YSU Summer Bridge participants.

Youngstown State University’s Summer Bridge program has been deemed by the U.S. Department of Education as a “promising strategy” for student success.

YSU is among 56 universities and colleges nationwide, and the only from Ohio, included on the list of promising and practical strategies, practices, programs and activities that have improved rates of post-secondary success, transfer and graduation. The full list can be found on the U.S. Department of Education site.

“We are honored and thrilled to be included on this exclusive list of best practices for student success,” said Jonelle Beatrice, associate executive director, Student Life, and director, YSU Center for Student Progress, which operates the Summer Bridge program. “This program has helped dozens of students reach their educational and professional goals. We hope other universities can learn from our success.”

YSU’s Summer Bridge, which started in the 1980s and now serves 40 students a year, is a free, one-week residential program for first-time, traditional-aged, multicultural freshmen entering YSU. It is designed to provide students the opportunity to become more familiar with the academic and social experiences most often encountered by first-year students, Beatrice said.

During the summer, students reside in YSU residence halls, take introductory writing, study skills and computer mini courses, participate in presentations from Financial Aid, Student Life, Campus Recreation, Student Employment, and participate in social activities within the city of Youngstown and surrounding communities.

Beatrice said the program is unique because it transitions students in the fall semester to the Bridge and Beyond program, started in 1998. Students in Bridge and Beyond have block scheduling of classes, live in a learning community in the residence hall, have a peer mentor, and work weekly with a professional staff mentor who serves as an academic coach.

Beatrice said students participating in Summer Bridge have experienced significantly higher progression and graduation rates than their peers.