YPIE Summer Bridge Program at Sarah Lawrence College Prepares Students for College

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This week Sarah Lawrence College is hosting and supporting Yonkers Partners in Education’s innovative summer bridge program for college-bound students from New York State’s fourth largest city, many of whom would not be planning for this life-changing chapter in their lives without the preparation afforded them by YPIE, a nonprofit public education fund.

The 40 participants, most of whom are first generation college goers, participated in YPIE’s high school college access program and received extensive services from YPIE including SAT prep classes, intensive college advising, college essay support, financial aid and scholarship support, and visits to see colleges over the past two years. This program is intended to help them get acclimated to college once they get onto campus.

Among the activities taking place on the Sarah Lawrence campus is a “scavenger hunt” which will take the students to the different places on campus they will need to navigate and be able to advocate for themselves once they arrive at their designated colleges. Among them are the financial aid office, library, health services, student affairs, and student accounts.

In addition, Sarah Lawrence psychology faculty member Elizabeth Johnston has provided a syllabus from her "Art & Visual Perception" lecture that will allow the students the experience of reviewing an outline of a college course with the opportunity to ask questions.

Staffing the week-long program are YPIE staff members Jennifer Ross, College Success Manager and Samuel Wallis, Chief Program Officer. Employees from Goldman Sachs who are participating in a Community Teamwork project are working with the students to develop their resumes. A representative from Citi Community Development will work with the students on financial planning and budgeting once they get to college. At the conclusion of the week students will receive free dorm supplies courtesy of GradBag.

Says Wallis: “Nationally we see too many strong students apply and get accepted to great colleges but never make it to starting classes in the fall. Life has a way of getting in the way to cause this ‘summer melt.’ Working with Sarah Lawrence College to develop the YPIE Summer Bridge program, where students can develop the skills, habits, and mindsets they need to successfully transition to independent living and academic life on a college campus we believe will provide the right support for all of our students so that they will go to, and graduate from, college.”

Debra Finkelstein, Senior Director of College Events for Sarah Lawrence coordinated the College’s role in the program. “Our staff and faculty members all volunteered their time to help these students succeed, whatever college they attend, and are thrilled to be able to host and assist the YPIE program,” she says.

Citi Community Development and private donors have provided funding for this program.

About Sarah Lawrence College

Founded in 1926, Sarah Lawrence is a prestigious, coeducational liberal arts college that consistently ranks among the leading liberal arts colleges in the country. Sarah Lawrence is known for its pioneering approach to education, rich history of impassioned intellectual and civic engagement, and vibrant, successful alumni. In close proximity to the unparalleled offerings of New York City, the historic campus is home to an intellectually curious and diverse community.