Bridges to a Brighter Future serves high school students of Greenville County, S.C., whose potential for academic excellence is hindered by economic and educational barriers.
Almost all participants are first-generation college students, and 70 percent of participants come from a household with an income of less than $25,000. The program ensures these issues will not stop students from going to college. Bridges to a Brighter Future students are prepared to graduate from high school, navigate the college admissions process and be successful in college.
Students are selected in the spring of their freshman year to participate. There are three components to this program – the Bridges Foundation, Saturday College and Crossing the Bridge.
The Bridges Foundation is a four-week academic program that begins the summer between after freshman year. The program takes place on the Furman University campus, which also is located in Greenville. Students receive more than 100 hours of academic enrichment, team-building, cultural exposure and peer support. Students participate in the Bridges Foundation program each summer until college begins.
After students complete their first session of the Bridges Foundation, they participate in Saturday College. This aspect of the Bridges program takes place once a month during the school year. Participants receive tutoring in all academic areas and attend workshops that focus on college admissions, financial aid and SAT/ACT prep.
The last step of the program is Crossing the Bridge. This component takes places after high school. Participants attend a one-week program that gets them ready for their first year of college. Students receive ongoing academic advisement, support and career mentoring throughout college.
College Greenlight is an important element of Bridges’ programming. According to Danielle Staggers, Assistant Director for College Success, “College Greenlight has been a communication and resource hub for our seniors. Since we are not able to see our students daily, our students have used the features of College Greenlight to share their updated college list and any status changes. We advise our students to search for scholarships using the College Greenlight blogs.”
The program gives students self-confidence, resiliency and leadership skills by the time of college graduation. Bridges to a Brighter Future graduates are poised to graduate from college and make a difference in their community and beyond
If you are a college admissions representative and you want to connect with Bridges, please contact Danielle Staggers, Assistant Director for College Success, Danielle.Staggers@furman.edu.