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Mary Edith Butler

People who want to attend college start their academic journey at many different places. Not all students are prepared for the rigor of college mathematics courses. The state of Illinois and colleges across the state are working to help those students get ready for college so that they can be more successful there. Waubonsee Community College is contributing to this effort of preparing students by offering a Math Bridge Program.

This program is saving students money and time, as well as helping them build life-skills. A national program known by several names, Math Bridge provides an intensive study of math over a short period of time, and once completed, allows a student to move straight into transfer-level math.

Students who enter Waubonsee often take a math placement test to see which math class they qualify for. Students whose test scores are just below the minimum needed to enter transfer-level math classes can qualify for the Math Bridge. Waubonsee has offered three Math Bridge sessions so far during 2019. Through a Title V grant, the Math Bridge Programs are free to students.

In the sessions that have run this year, the students worked in small groups with experienced math instructors and tutors for four hours a day using diagnostic software and completing extra worksheets. The students sharpened their skills on everything from algebra to finances as they went through the program. The skills learned in these sessions reinforce valuable skills for life.

The Math Bridge has been held on both the Aurora Downtown Campus and the Sugar Grove Campus. Enrolling in transfer-level math classes saves students the tuition they might have spent on developmental education classes and also saves them time, allowing them to complete their college degrees quicker. An interesting “side effect” is that the students in the group bond with each other, their instructors, and their tutors. They now know fellow students and teachers and know where to find tutors, so enrolling in college courses is not as scary the next semester.

Waubonsee faculty and staff are starting discussions to consider the best format for future Bridge Programs. Waubonsee’s Bridge Programs so far have spanned three weeks, but some colleges run a Bridge for four or more weeks, which allows the students to work at a good pace and not rush through issues. Some colleges also offer an English Bridge that includes intensive study of vocabulary, writing, and grammar. National data proves the high value and high success of Bridge Programs.

Waubonsee’s Math Bridge Program is a powerful way for students to succeed in college. Waubonsee will offer more Math Bridge sessions next summer. Information about dates will be posted on the college's website and shared throughout the community as soon as it's available, or you can contact me at for information.

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