July 26, 2022

Lakes Region Community College hosted fourteen recent high school graduates at its first bridge program last week on their campus in Laconia, NH. “Gateway to College” is a one-week, free residential opportunity designed for first-year college students who would benefit from academic and social support. The college is happy to report that this program, from academics to confidence building, exceeded all expectations.

Students spent their mornings in the classroom completing rigorous coursework in English and math. Academically, the group exhibited engagement and determination in their studies.

Steve Freeborn, Department Chair of Liberal and Professional Studies and Associate Professor of English, was pleased with the progress students made in the Gateway English course. Scores, which were based on results from LRCC’s English Placement Evaluation, improved on average from a 3.7 to a 5.3 (1-8 scale) allowing most students to be directly placed into English Composition.

“I was pleased with the dedication and focus our Gateway students brought with them. They worked hard on a variety of topics ranging from critical thinking to writing strategies and I’m confident that they have built up their skill set to allow them to be successful in English Composition”, said Freeborn.

Julie Morin, Professor of Math, echoed similar improvements. Her reports indicated that on Monday, 57% of these incoming students showed preparedness for a college-level math course. On Friday of the same week, 100% of these students tested into college-level math.

By reviewing math topics and working in their individualized learning paths, seven students that would have enrolled in the non-degree credit course are now prepared to enroll in their program-required math course. Two students moved from our 100-level course to the 200-level course placement.

“What you do not see in the numbers and deserves mentioning is the focus and determination shown by this group. It was a pleasure collaborating with them and watching them concentrate on their work. They demonstrated that they are prepared for college-level math courses”, said Morin.

Following classes, students participated in “Afternoon Jam Sessions,” which included social interactions, team-building exercises, and support information.

“In just four afternoons, I watched students make new friends, share ideas and goals, choose schoolwork over socializing, and support each other. This is success to me! I am very grateful to have connected with these students and watch their transformation”, said Andrea Tripple, Lead College Counselor.

To further the college experience, these students resided in LRCC’s student housing. Evening activities included a trip to Fun-Spot, Movie Night, a “Chopped” competition, and more. Socially, the group bonded as roommates and became fast friends.

“It was awesome to see how well the fourteen of them bonded in just five days. By the end of the week, most asked if they could stay another week. To me, those expressions of wanting more time here revealed how well this program was run”, said Eric Walsh, Campus Life Coordinator.

LRCC would like to thank its faculty, staff, coordinators, parents, and especially the “Gateway” students for making this week a success. Plans to continue this program annually are currently underway