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Summer Bridge gave students a chance to hone their math skills.

The University of Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu’s efforts to better prepare incoming freshman for the rigors of college paid off this summer with more high school students than ever attending Summer Bridge programs.

Dozens of high school graduates were on campus this summer to take part in programs that help smooth the sometimes jarring transition from being a high school graduate to college student. The transition was helped through four Summer Bridge programs that help students get acquainted with taking university courses, the campus and resources available to them. Additionally, high school students attended courses under a program operated under a partnership with the State Department of Education.

“It’s been exciting,” said Lokelani Kenolio, director of the Noʻeau Center, which hosted 48 Math Summer Bridge students. “It’s wonderful to have more students on campus.”

Summer Bridge programs typically are designed to enhance a student’s chances for success. At UH West Oʻahu, the Summer Bridge students are familiarized with different support services on campus and develop a level of comfort with faculty and staff.

Four bridge programs were offered during the 2017 Summer Academy, one of UH West Oʻahu’s signature programs that help local high school graduates get an early start on college life. Three of these were grouped under Ke Ala Kauwela, a program aimed at helping incoming freshman from the Waiʻanae Coast. Additionally, there was a Math Summer Bridge (PDF) for college freshmen that included a five credit college algebra course with embedded tutoring and peer coaching support services.

“There were many more Summer Bridge students this year because of extensive partnerships with the Hawaiʻi Department of Education, GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), UH West Oʻahu’s Pueo Scholars and Kamehameha Schools,” said Melissa Saul, director of the Institute of Engaged Scholarship and project director of the PIKO project.

Saul said UH West Oʻahu also has been working with local schools and Hawaiian charter schools to increase the college-going rates and college-readiness skills. This includes developing pathway programs focused on health careers, education and sustainable community food systems.

“The programs help students learn how to navigate college successfully and how to access services on campus,” said Saul. “We have found that students who participate in summer programs are more likely to attend college and be retained from their freshman to sophomore year.”

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