“I just feel more prepared for the future and what it has to offer.”
On Saturday, The University of Maine at Augusta celebrated students in its Bridge Year program in Bangor. The curriculum gives high schoolers an opportunity to take college level courses before they graduate.
“A, it gives them a good framework as they do start their full time college career. But B, it also gives them a chance to get out and obtain a degree in a shorter period of time which will save them money in the long run and obviously reduces any potential debt that they may have.”
The students honored at the ceremony all averaged B’s or higher. Kids in the program take up to 24 college credits and are also given opportunities to learn more about technical skills and higher education.
“It helps getting the core classes but it also helps us to get the college experience and so when we get to college we’re not frantic about the classes we already know how it is and the setup of it.”
“It really helps them develop that confidence and the can-do attitude and when they do finish our program it’s something they say, “I am as qualified as anybody else and that I can achieve these goals.””
Participants in the program from all across the state of Maine, with some commuting nearly two hours to classes. But in the end, they say it’s worth it to get a jump start on their future.
“College, people think of it as something that you’re probably going to struggle through or maybe party every night but I think of it more as something that’s going to set up my life for me.”
And the message they have for their peers?
“Definitely do it in high school when you have that support because you’re not necessarily going to have that college. Your professors won’t always be there for you but the bridge year teachers definitely step out of their way and they make time for you.”