Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Palma Vargas, Osvaldo. 2023. “Summer Bridge Programs in National and Local Context.” Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Osvaldo Palma Vargas 2023


Research suggests that summer bridge programs (SBPs) meet their intended goal, which is to improve first-generation students’ academic outcomes as defined by first-year retention and GPA. However, we know little about whether, and if so, how SBPs optimize the implementation of known best practices and how they are perceived by participating students. This thesis compares evidence regarding key practices of SBPs at a selection of Land Grant institutions, to identify commonalities and differences. In addition, this thesis compares the key practices of these peer institutions with a local SBP in place at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, known as the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy (NCPA)Summer Institute Program. In addition, this project analyzes survey data to examine how NCPA scholars view their experience with the NCPA’s Summer Bridge Program. Findings suggest that the NCPA overall and its Summer Institute Program offers both common and unique practices, compared to SBPs regionally and nationwide, that (a) bring mixed support from SBP participants and (b) have a positive effect on academic success outcomes. Findings provide the basis for additional suggestions regarding program expansion and modification.