Puente Project - College of the Sequoias

State
California
Academic Level
Associate
Issue Area
Retention
Key Personnel

Overview

The College of the Sequoias (COS) Puente Project seeks to improve student persistence and college transfer rates in a county that continues to hover near the bottom of several socio-economic measures. For example, 17.8% of families with children live below the poverty level in California, while the rate is 30.4% for Tulare County.  Since its inception in 1996, the Puente Project at COS has served over several hundred students, of whom approximately 99% are Latinos. At present, Puente reaches 100-150 students per year.

Program Description

Puente has four main components includes one, first-year students take English 251 in the fall, an intro to academic writing and English 1 in the spring, a college reading and composition focused course. The content of both these courses focus on Latino/a authors and issues and are taught by the same instructor to help support students development in writing skills. While students take these two courses, they also take the Counseling 120AB, a student success course in concurrence. Second, Puente students work closely with their counselor, meeting several times each semester to develop an educational plan with a goal of transferring to a four-year institution and for personal counseling. Third, students are matched with professionals from the community who share their professional knowledge and academic experiences. Lastly, Puente students take educational field trips to universities each year and attend an annual statewide Puente Conference.

Outcome

The overall COS one-year persistence rate of first-year students with at least six units for 2008-2009 was 65%. However, the Puente one-year persistence rate for the same period was 92%.

In fact, from 2009 to 2013, the Puente one-year persistence rate has averaged 82%. Moreover, Puente students transfer at higher rates than the general COS student population (students completing at least 12 units and attempting transfer English or math courses).

From 2003 to 2006, the six-year transfer rate of the general COS student population averaged 34%, while the average for Puente students was 58.5%.