Dominican Transitions Program

Academic Level
Issue Area
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Summer Bridge


The Transitions Program at Dominican University (DU) began in 2004 to prepare minority students to succeed in college and has been crucial to the academic success of Latino students at DU. Every year, 20 to 30 Latino students who do not meet the university’s admission requirements, due to a GPA and ACT score lower than 2.75 and 21 respectively, are admitted through Transitions. Students participate in a five-week Summer Bridge Program, at no cost to the student that builds upon the classes they’ll take in the fall. The summer component focuses on strengthening math and English skills, critical thinking, study habits, and self-knowledge. During their freshman year, students engage in a core curriculum of English, Math, and Seminar classes, and participate in workshops, career exploration, peer advising, and community-based learning opportunities.

Program Description

The Transitions program has three goals: 1) Academic Goal: Students will improve their academic readiness taking Math, English, and Seminar; 2) Social Goal: Students will build a supportive peer network through the summer that will continue through their freshman year and establish meaningful, academic relationships with faculty and staff; 3) Personal Growth Goal: Students will become familiar with campus resources. The expected outcomes for DU Transitions are increased academic access, high retention rates, and improved graduation rates of DU Latino students, promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education.


Since 2011, 78% of DU Transitions students have been Latino. The number of Latino students at DU has increased steadily every year. In the Fall of 2000, 14% of DU students were Latino. Today, DU is proud that 47% of the student body is Latino. In 2011, 83% of Transitions students returned, compared to 80% of non-Transitions students. In 2012, Transitions Freshman-Sophomore retention increased to 96% and has averaged 84% over the last five years. For Latino students in Transitions, the retention rate was 84% in 2011 and rose to 100% in 2012. The Latino Transition student retention rate has averaged 90% over the last five years. While the graduation rate of Latino students (first time, full-time freshman) is 41% nationwide, Latino Transitions Students in the 2010-2016 cohort had a graduation rate of 78%, which was higher than the overall Transitions graduation rate of 60%. The Latino Transitions graduation rate was 30 points higher than Latino non-Transitions rate of 48% and higher than the overall graduation rate for non-Latinos of 69%.