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Matthew E. Davis, Department of Psychology, Wingate University

Bonnie Bost Laster, Department of Psychology, Texas Wesleyan University


summer bridge, social capital, student mentoring, college transition


In an effort to improve performance and retention of first-year college students, a few institutions have started offering summer bridge programs. Varying from days to weeks or months, these programs offer an extended orientation to college life, teach specific academic skills and/or content, and help students form social connections with peers, faculty, and staff and increasing their social capital. While bridge programs are gaining popularity in STEM fields, there is potential value in expanding these programs to other disciplines. In this analysis, we offer both a narrative summary and findings from our summer bridge program and living learning community in the social sciences. Results include positive student perceptions of the program and mixed results regarding academic performance and retention rate. We conclude with an overview of lessons learned and future directions for summer bridge programs and living learning communities, as well as empirical research in this domain.