The transition to college can be daunting for any student, and especially for low-income, first-generation college students. Each summer we conduct a three-day retreat for our high school graduates before they enter college. Workshops conducted by our staff and older college students prepare these rising college freshmen for every aspect of the transition, including the logistics of getting to their college, dorm life, registering for classes, adjusting to a very different cultural demographic, and meeting and making friends with students from different backgrounds.
A very important goal of the Pre-College Retreat is for students to get to know and bond with students from our other high schools who will be attending the same college. This will be their new college crew. Crew leaders and crew members will remind each other of the practices our staff has been advocating, such as reaching out for help, accessing resources, developing personal relationships with professors and applying for internships.
College Retention Support
We provide three layers of support to our college students:
- Staff caseload: An assigned Bright Prospect staff member regularly communicates with each college student.
- Access to on-campus resources: We help students become comfortable using on-campus support resources including tutoring, writing, counseling and health centers.
- Crew meetings and activities: College crew members meet regularly to share experiences and resources. Trained crew leaders report to our staff regularly and alert us to any student who needs our intervention, working with on-campuses resources if necessary, to help them deal with an academic, financial, family or social adjustment challenge. Older Bright Prospect students at each campus provide another layer of support to the freshman crews.
This multi-layered approach ensures that 86% of our students continue through college to graduation and beyond.
Summer programming for continuing college students focuses on career readiness. Each summer we have a Career Exploration Day where students hear from a variety of professionals about their industry and career path. In the summer of 2015 we implemented Professional Development Week, which gives students more knowledge that will help them transition from college to the professional work force.Workshops include topics such as writing resume and cover letters, preparing for interviews, job searching, and networking.