2023 high school graduates can start college with no out-of-pocket costs

Seminole State’s Summer Bridge program helps first-time-in-college 2023 graduates start their college careers.

Thursday, May 18, 2023
Written by: Emily Hollingshead

Seminole State College of Florida is offering the Summer Bridge program this summer, a unique program designed in partnership with Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS) for 2023 high school graduates. Through the program, students will take two courses over the Summer Term, which runs June 21 – Aug. 2, and the College will use available financial aid and/or institutional funds to cover tuition, fees and books so students will have no out-of-pocket costs. The deadline to apply for the program is June 1.

“Transitioning from high school to college can be an overwhelming and unfamiliar experience for many students and their families. The Summer Bridge program is an opportunity for first-time-in-college students to jumpstart their college careers with academic and social supports to aid in their success,” said Jennifer Buchhorn, assistant director of student recruitment. “Our goal is to alleviate uncertainty and foster a sense of belonging by creating a network of staff, faculty and peers these students can count on for support. We want students to feel welcome and confident they can achieve their educational goals.”

We want students to feel welcome and confident they can achieve their educational goals.

Jennifer Buchhorn

Through the Summer Bridge program, students will take the College’s first year experience course that will connect them to the resources throughout Seminole State, encourage them to explore different career pathways and extracurricular opportunities in their fields of interest. They will also be allowed to choose between one of five electives for a total of two classes that have embedded tutors and librarians for extra academic support.

“We have a very high graduation rate here in Seminole County, and we want to make sure that our graduates are aware of all the options available to them,” said Dr. Nicola Williams, SCPS school counseling and educational pathways services coordinator. “The Summer Bridge program in particular is an excellent opportunity for any student, from those who are hesitant about college to those who want to get a jumpstart on their classes.”

Roger Velandia 2022 Summer Bridge Participant

“Now I feel like I have a little bit of a head start,” said Roger Velandia after he took two classes during the Summer Bridge program. Velandia is on a medical path and used the Summer Bridge program to jumpstart his college education so he can continue through the DirectConnect to UCF® program and eventually attend medical school with the intention of becoming a neurosurgeon.

Roger Velandia giving a thumbs up
Roger Velandia

While the goal of becoming a neurosurgeon may scare some people, Velandia’s drive and motivation comes from personal experience and faith. “I used to think there was no way in my life I would ever want to be a neurosurgeon. Now I feel like God has placed that in my heart to help save another person’s life,” he said. “The reason I have this passion is because I’ve given my whole entire life to God. I’ve surrendered my life, and there is nothing I want to do other than please him.”

While most 14-year-olds are adjusting to starting high school, Velandia was diagnosed with cancer and was battling a brain tumor. With the help of neurosurgeons and oncologists he was able to survive and beat cancer and now says he feels the call to pursue medicine so he can save others as he was saved.

About Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS)

Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS) is the 12th largest school district in Florida and is 60th nationally with more than 67,000 students and 10,000 employees. SCPS is a leader in education throughout Central Florida and the State and is widely recognized as a Premier National School District.

About Seminole State

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves more than 25,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A full-service education provider, Seminole State has thrived by adapting to and meeting the needs of an ever-changing, vibrant community. Seminole State offers 11 bachelor’s degrees in high-demand, high-growth fields; two-year associate degrees; specialized certificates; continuing professional education; adult education and guaranteed admission via DirectConnect to UCF® to the University of Central Florida for Associate in Arts (A.A.) graduates. By offering flexible, affordable, high-quality educational programs and services, the College continues to help students learn, succeed and GO Far. For more about Seminole State, visit seminolestate.edu

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