‘This is a big help’: Livingstone College gives high school graduates a second chance at admission, earning credits for the fall

Students earn seven college credits during the six-week program, and admission upon their completion.
Graduating seniors have the opportunity to earn seven credits and a stipend toward their tuition.
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 6:46 PM EDT
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SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - A North Carolina Historically Black College is showing graduating seniors their potential matters beyond their high school grades.

Livingstone College’s retiring President Dr. Jimmy Jenkins started the BRIDGE program in 2006 as part of his legacy programming.

The program gives graduating high school seniors a second chance at admission if their high school grade-point average and SAT or ACT scores weren’t high enough for admission. The program is free for participating students.

“You know what, you might not have performed at your best in high school, but that’s not who you are,” BRIDGE director Edward Brown said.

Through the BRIDGE program, students are offered provisional admission upon their completion. Over the course of six weeks, they take rigorous core classes and participate in physical fitness, morning devotions and enrichment sessions, including field trips to Charleston and Greensboro.

James Fuqua says he’s grateful for the program and Livingstone’s commitment to supporting students.

“Getting a second chance really helps a lot of people’s lives,” Fuqua said. “A lot of people don’t want to be at home or be in their neighborhoods, so coming to school and getting a second chance is a great opportunity for a lot of people.”

Kaylah Roland-Shaw wasn’t the best math student in high school, which inspired her to apply for the BRIDGE program.

“I’m not good at math, so that’s why I have to pay more attention to it,” she said.

Thanks to Livingstone College’s BRIDGE program - she’s building better study habits and getting more understanding to prepare her for the fall.

“I have to go back to my room and practice and after that, it’s embedded in my head fast,” she said.

Upon successful completion of the program, students gain seven credits toward their degrees and a $1,500 stipend toward their tuition. Once they finish - they’re accepted as full-time students for the fall.

“We’re working with these kids through their entire college career at Livingstone College,” Brown said. “We’re sure making that they have everything they need to be successful while they’re here.”

Their involvement in BRIDGE doesn’t end after the six weeks. Students will have peer mentors, tutoring and other enrichment opportunities afforded to them during the school year.

Fuqua loves how personalized and hands-on the program is and said it’s helping him prepare for high expectations this school year. He echoed some of the encouragement from his professors.

“We’re going to make sure you get into school, we’re going to make sure you get on the right path,” Fuqua said.

Roland-Shaw says she’s thankful, not just for the academic support, but for the friends turned family she’s gained at Livingstone College.

“This is a big help and I’m so glad that I took the step to come out and actually do it,” she said.

President Jenkins is retiring this year and the College held a retirement gala in his honor. The gala brought in $1 million in donations which will directly support BRIDGE.

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