College Bridge

CARA’s College Bridge program addresses summer melt & the gap in college guidance for first-generation college students, low-income students, and students of color. It does this by training current college students, called Bridge Coaches, to support graduating high school students during their senior year and the summer before they matriculate into college.

College Bridge Reach & Impact

42 Coaches being trained in 2019-2020
33 Participating sites
3900 Students being served

Why College Bridge

30-40% of graduating seniors who are accepted to college and plan to enroll fail to do so in the fall.

Failure to matriculate can be traced to the many and complicated application and enrollment tasks that take place over the course of senior year and through the summer.

Our Program Model

  • Bridge Coaches have 70+ hours of comprehensive training in college access content.

    Bridge Coaches develop a range of skills and content knowledge that they then use, alongside their unique near-to-peer perspective, to provide individualized support to graduating students. Trainings include the following topics:


    College Applications:
    -College List-Making
    -CUNY System
    -SUNY System
    -Private Colleges

    Financial Aid:
    -Financial Aid Applications
    -Financial Aid Packages
    -Opportunity Programs

    Working with Students:
    -Counseling Skills
    -Leading College Transition Workshops
    -Supporting Undocumented Students

    College Matriculation:
    -College-decision making
    -Outreach and Engagement
    -Caseload Management
    -Data Tracking

    Table of Contents
  • CARA works with schools to help support the integration of College Bridge into existing college office work.

    CARA brings College Bridge supervisors together several times a year to support the implementation of the program at their individual schools. CARA also provides:

    • Counselor resources such as college match tools and income documentation forms
    • Support with data-tracking and planning
    • Opportunities to meet with high-level college admission professionals to discuss how admission policies impact students on the ground
    • Provision of workshops for College Bridge coaches to run in senior classes
  • CARA has partnered with FMYI to develop a student-focused tracking tool that organizes all of the steps students need to complete from application to enrollment. All of our Bridge schools receive and are expected to use this tool.

    Enroll NYC allows college offices to keep track of the multiple tasks that each student must complete in order to successfully enroll in college. This type of individual tracking is an essential function of college counseling for first-generation college students. Taken in aggregate, tracking this extensive set of metrics across our schools and programs allows us to dig deeper into understanding key benchmarks that may lead to increased rates of postsecondary enrollment. CARA then shares these findings with our school and community partners, as well as with the wider community in NYC and beyond.

    Learn More

Core Components for Program Partners

Hire a College Coach

Recruit one College Coach/100 seniors from your pool of alumni

Pay College Coach NY State minimum wage for school-based work and training time

Make time available for College Coach to meet with students

Supervise your College Coach

College counselor should meet weekly with their College Coach throughout the school year

Attend CARA Supervisor meetings

Communicate with CARA as needed to support the program at the high school

Provide Summer Assistance

Supervise College Coach at least 5 hrs/ week during the summer months

Provide space for College Coach to work and meet with students

Give College Coach access to student forms and information needed for college enrollment during summer

Participate in Evaluation

Track and report data using the EnrollNYC database during the program

Participate in assessments as needed by CARA

Complete evaluations of College Coach

College Bridge Curriculum & Resources

CARA partner schools can log in to access College Bridge curriculum and resources by clicking the button below.

Access College Bridge Curriculum & Resources