INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A record number of incoming IUPUI freshmen and international students are attending a unique two-week program designed to help them “bridge” the gap between their high school experience and their first year of college.
Approximately 750 students are enrolled in the University College Summer Bridge Program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, which runs Aug. 13 through Aug. 24. Summer Bridge students live on campus and attend specialized classes to help them learn about academic expectations, prepare for their initial academic year and become accustomed to the IUPUI campus.
Total participation in the program, which started in 2001, increased from 361 students in 2007 to 607 last summer.
“There has been significant growth of the program and thus, an increase in the number of student participants,” said Heather Bowman, director of first-year programs at IUPUI. “In the past few years, the numbers have almost doubled. There are only a few schools left on campus that don’t have Summer Bridge classes.”
IUPUI has 17 schools offering degrees from either Indiana University or Purdue University. While Summer Bridge is administered by University College, the schools and their academic departments design specific courses for the students pursuing degrees in their programs.
As more of the schools at IUPUI add Summer Bridge opportunities, the program will continue to expand, Bowman said. The Herron School of Art and Design and the Department of Journalism and Public Relations, newly established in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, are new to the Summer Bridge program this year. In addition, all freshman international students are again required to attend Summer Bridge, which has contributed to the growth of the program.
About 17 percent of entering IUPUI freshmen have attended the Summer Bridge program each of the past four years.
Bowman has high expectations for the future of the program.
“Each year, I look forward to watching our participants transform into confident, college-ready students over the two weeks of the program,” she said. “My hope is that one day, all IUPUI freshmen will have an opportunity to participate in a Summer Bridge experience.”