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  • Carrie Silver

Spring Break in Alabama

Touring colleges is hands-down one of the most effective tools in providing college access for first-gen students. If you never set foot on a college campus, it’s nearly impossible to imagine yourself attending college. At Bridges, students can tour an average of 30 colleges before high school graduation, making the impossible possible.

Spring Break 2022 was the first time Bridges to a Brighter Future took an over-night, out-of-state trip since before Covid, and the students were excited.

“I want to see colleges out-of-state and explore,” said a junior attending Greenville Early College. “I am not sure where I want to go or live, so I think staying for a few days in a different setting will help me to experience if it’s something I want after high school.”

A junior from Wade Hampton High School added: “I want to go on this trip because I’m excited to see schools in a state I haven’t ever really considered. I think it would really open my options considering I do have to decide soon.”

During the four-day, three-night trip to Birmingham, AL, students toured a variety of schools: big and small, public and private, research and liberal arts, four-year and two-year, plus two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). They were able to compare the reality of all these differences they’ve discussed in their Bridges College Planning curriculum but hadn’t yet experienced in person.

When asked about her favorite part of the trip, a sophomore from Greenville Tech Charter High school said: “My favorite was learning what I do and don’t like about colleges. Plus getting closer with other Bridges students.”

Another student, a junior at Traveler’s Rest High School, had never been on the campus of an HBCU before and realized that it felt like “home” to her.

The trip also allowed students to explore the history of the area, specifically the role Birmingham played in the Civil Rights Movement. The group reserved a private tour with the current pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, learning about the role the church played in the crusade; and they toured the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, seeing history come to life and being inspired them to continue the fight for justice in their lives.

All Bridges students will continue to explore colleges over the summer during Bridges Foundations, a four-week residential program at Furman that includes weekly field trips to explore colleges and local culture. These trips are made possible by the generosity of our donors, who believe in empowering young people to break the cycle of poverty through higher education.

We hope (with support) to plan a multi-day college tour trip for fall break 2022, going to a region that students are interested in exploring for their future education. The more time spent on college campuses, the more time students spend envisioning themselves as college students—and the more likely they are to make that vision a reality.

And after fall break? Bridges will be here for the students as they prepare for, apply to, enroll in, and succeed in the college they choose. Touring colleges is an early—but critical—step in the process. IT’s only the beginning. Bridges will be there every step along the way.

If you are interesting in financially supporting a fall break 2022 trip, please contact director Carrie Silver.


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