The study was conducted in a public, research-extensive, co-educational, land-grant university in the Southeastern United States. The total undergraduate enrollment during the study period was around 25,000 students.
The matched analytic sample was 64% White,14% Black, 8% Asian, and 1% Native American; 5% of students were Hispanic.; and 63% of students were male. The average age of study students was 17.9 years. Approximately one-fifth of students in the matched sample were eligible for a Pell Grant.
The Summer Bridge Program (SBP) was designed to help first-year students transition from high school to college. SBP took place over a five-week period in the summer before college enrollment. Students lived on campus and participated in interactive events and up to eight credit hours of academic coursework. SBP included a mandatory 1.5 day orientation session similar to the one held for all first-year students. In 2014, SBP hosted 27 optional events on a range of wellness topics including leadership styles, procrastination, financial management, networking, resume writing, healthy cooking and eating, time management, sleep education, study skills, healthy relationships, anxiety and depression awareness, community service projects, crafts, cultural awareness, and fitness activities. SBP students also had access to campus resources such as tutoring, career counseling, physical and mental health services, and recreation facilities. The SBP program staff included student mentors who met one-on-one with their assigned first-year students for 20-30 minutes at least once a week during the program.
The comparison condition was business as usual. Students received the academic and non-academic services typically provided to first-year students attending this university.
Support for implementation
The budget for the SBP was approximately $186,000. This included a program coordinator salary, graduate assistant stipend, and a $600 stipend and housing for student mentors.