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Timbers Finds Freshman Success with Bridge Program

Nick imbers

24 | YourCommuni y,YourCollege

N ick Timbers is confident he will do well in the Computer Engineering program at Clemson University this fall. Completing his freshman year in the Bridge to Clemson program with a 3.1 GPA and a newfound confidence in chemistry class contributed to his freshman-year success. “The Bridge to Clemson program really worked for me,” says Nick, referring to the collaborative initiative between Tri-County and Clemson University that blends University Transfer classes at Tri-County with Clemson campus life. It is specifically designed for recent high school students who narrowly missed admission to Clemson because of limited space and high demand.

Bridge to Clemson was launched in the fall of 2006 with 231 students. A first of its kind in South Carolina, this invitation-only program blends the traditional academic experience at Tri-County with the social and cultural experiences of being at Clemson University. Bridge students must earn 30 transfer credits at Tri-County during their Bridge year and maintain a 2.5 GPA in order to transition to Clemson for their sophomore year. They live together in a local apartment complex and have access to student life programs and services at Tri-County and Clemson. To date, the program has served 3,630 students, including the 683 who enrolled in fall 2013.

“Initiall , I thought the classes would be easier, but they were challenging. I studied more than I ever had in my life,” said Nick.

“Chemistry isn’t my strong suit,” added Nick, who made C’s in high school chemistry and was dreading the college-level class. “But I put in the work and got it done,” he said, adding that he made A’s on the first three chemistry tests and completed the class with a B.

“The Tri-County instructors are in sync with my learning style. It was a great way to ease into college.”

Nick, who was accepted to two other four-year colleges but really wanted to go to Clemson, is grateful for the Bridge opportunity. “When I read about the program, I realized it was a guaranteed spot at Clemson if you completed the academic requirements of 30 transfer credit hours and a 2.5 GPA.”

He values the friendships made with his Bridge cohort, as well as Tri-County students, whom he had some engineering classes with. “Through conversations with these friends, I found out about reduced prices on football tickets and services at Fike and Redfern. I learned about intramural sports and consequently joined the wrestling team. I was able to continue to wrestle like I did in high school. I even got interested in fencing.”

He continued to embrace the college experience by becoming a Bridge Ambassador. At orientation he talks with future Bridge students and their parents. “I go over information and help them to enter Tri-County with no concerns. I tell them being successful in the Bridge program gives you the reassurance that after one year, you know you’ve made it to Clemson. It really worked out for me and many others,” he said.

“Along the wa , I’ve found out new things about myself—I’m capable of doing anything if I put the work in.”

Bridge to Clemson Fall Enrollment

800

700

683

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604

500

540

559

400

446

300

312

200

231

252

100

0

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

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