Stephanie Ruiz

Stephanie Ruiz is a studio arts major at Bakersfield College who plans to transfer to CSUB.

I first heard about the Bridge to BC program during my senior year of high school when BC’s representatives visited my high school, and I wasn’t initially planning to participate in the Bridge to BC opportunity because I thought I felt prepared for college. I’m not the first in my family to seek higher education; I have an older sister who is also attending BC so I thought I would be able to pick up what I needed to know from her or just ask my parents, but when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged and classes moved online, it made me rethink how prepared I really was and how many questions they could really answer for me.

Since I had never taken any online courses, I was really anxious but through the online Bridge to BC program, my first year of college was pretty great. The experience really helped me ease into my first year of college, not only introducing me to online courses using Canvas, but also giving me an overview of the many resources and programs BC offers for students. These tips, tricks, resources, and support systems are a huge part of the reason my first year of college was a success!

Offered to all incoming freshmen, the daylong intensive and interactive program called Bridge to BC gives students the opportunity to also engage with the staff and faculty who will help us along the rest of our academic journey. We get to know these people as mentors, friends, and support systems as well as in their role at the college. Presenters provide helpful tips on net-iquette (etiquette for online learning) and time management while also demystifying questions that all new students have before the semester begins.

My favorite part of this experience was by far the Zoom sessions. I enjoyed interacting and socializing with other students who were also going to take online courses for the first time. The counselors were incredibly helpful and friendly and it is clear that they wanted to see students succeed and accomplish their goals.

Because of this type of intentional orientation, Bridge to BC students are meeting most of the outlined student success metrics at a higher rate than non-Summer Bridge students. The Bridge Students’ fall to spring 6-year average persistence rate (2014-2019) was 82.5 percent (Non-Bridge Average: 65.5 percent). And in addition, Summer Bridge students attempt significantly more college level units during their first term and first year. Personally, after meeting a counselor during my Bridge to BC, my career path was more clear and I knew the steps I had to take to earn my degree and accomplish my goals.

In fact, Summer Bridge students were 2.39 times more likely to enroll in college level math, 3.17 times more likely to enroll in college level English, 1.60 times more likely to persist to spring term, 1.48 times more likely to persist until the next fall term, 1.90 times more likely to attempt 30 or more college-level units, and 1.70 times more likely to successfully pass 30 or more college-level units.

When Bridge to BC returns to being an on-campus or hybrid experience, I know students just like me will continue to benefit, learning to navigate college both online and on campus. This experience was a great introduction and it made my first year enjoyable even though all my classes were online. This next year, I feel even more prepared to tackle my classes with confidence thanks to all the support from Bridge to BC.

This summer, I hope all incoming Renegades take the opportunity to participate in Bridge to BC.

Stephanie Ruiz is a studio arts major at Bakersfield College who plans to transfer to CSUB.