Student Leadership Network’s (SLN) key program is CollegeBound Initiative (CBI), a high-touch college guidance and access program that places highly trained, full-time college counselors in partnering Title I New York City high schools. While CBI continues to yield impressive college enrollment results – since 2001, CBI has achieved a cumulative college enrollment rate of 89%, with 74% of students enrolling in four-year colleges – there is a critical need to address the drop off that occurs during the college years.
We supported SLN in extending their high-tough, near-peer coaching model into the first year of college as a preventative measure to address common challenges and better set students up for success. The Bridge Through College program focuses on four key drivers for college persistence: 1) FAFSA renewal; 2) financial planning and problem solving, 3) strategic academic advisement; and, 4) campus connection and commitment. In year one of this initiative, which was piloted at two CUNY campuses – Hunter College and Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) – Bridge Through College’s intervention substantially improves college persistence outcomes among the alumni. Hunter students persisted at a rate 8% higher than non-participating CBI peers. At BMCC, the improvement was even more dramatic, with BMCC students persisting at a rate 14% higher than non-participating CBI peers.
In 2022, recruitment was expanded to the top eight CUNY campuses where the most SLN alumni have matriculated (City College, John Jay College, Lehman College, Guttman Community College, LaGuardia Community College, and Bronx Community College).