What is Puente?
Puente (Spanish for “bridge”) is a national award-winning program that helps students reach their dreams of college success. For more than 25 years, the Puente Program has improved the college-going rate of tens of thousands of California’s educationally underrepresented students. Founded in 1981, Puente was a response to three major factors that contributed to the low academic achievement among Latino students: lack of strong English skills, lack of a mentor, and lack of academic counseling guidance. The Puente Program specifically addresses these factors by using an interdisciplinary approach that combines writing, counseling, and mentoring.
Established in 1996 at Cypress College, the mission of the Puente Program is to increase the number of educationally disadvantaged students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities, earn college degrees, and return to the community as mentors and leaders to future generations. Puente is open to all students and is co-sponsored by the University of California and the California Community Colleges.
- Increase the development of writing and research skills
- Encourage strong study skills and the creation of an educational master plan
- Create a forum to discuss topics on the Latino experience
- Instill a sense of familia, confidence, and self-esteem
- Increase transfer rates to four-year colleges and universities
Puente gives students the skills and information they need to succeed:
- Individual instruction and counseling
- Intensive writing practice
- Awards from the Lupe Mosqueda Scholarship
The Puente Program consists of two consecutive Counseling classes:
- COUN 150 C Academic & Life Success
- COUN 160 C – College/University Transition
Puente students work closely with their Puente counselor to improve study skills, explore career options, develop an academic educational plan, and identify lifetime goals.
Any student qualified to enroll in English 100 C and Counseling 150 willing to make a one-year (Fall – Spring) commitment is invited to join the program.
Students in the program must enroll in both the English and Counseling classes each semester.
In addition to the two courses in the spring, Puente students will be taking Ethnic Studies 152 “Chicano Studies” to fulfill their History and Cultural Diversity requirement for the Liberal Arts Associate Degree.
Puente Classes Include
Puente students are enrolled in special sections of core courses with the goal of completing a minimum of five transfer eligible courses while in the program.
Puente students take English 100 C and English 103/4 (H) C consecutively. These classes work to improve students’ written language skills, enhance their research methods, and develop critical thinking in a supportive and stimulating environment. Puente students work closely with their English instructor to become more confident writers as they explore Latino culture and literature.
While taking English 103/4 (H) C, Puente students will be concurrently enrolled in Ethnic Studies 152 C. These classes offer complimentary curriculum so students will be able to take material they learn from both classes to improve their knowledge, appreciation, and understanding of the Latino/a American Experience.
Each student in the Puente Program is matched with a mentor from the business or professional community. Mentors share their personal, academic, and career experiences to provide a window into “real life” work environments. The network of trained Puente mentors provides many resources for the Puente students. The Cypress College Puente Program also provides an opportunity for students to work with peer mentors, Puente Program graduates who are still working on completing their transfer credits. Peer mentors offer guidance, support, and encouragement while extending the feeling of familia from one generation of Puente students to the next.
The Puente Program sponsors numerous cultural activities to expose Puente students to the many educational, cultural, and social opportunities available in the area. Since the mission of the Puente Program is transfer, the highlight of these activities has been the Program’s annual Northern Trip to UC campuses such as UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Berkeley. In addition, past students have visited local universities and the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, attended poetry readings at Martinez Bookstore, experienced the theater at various venues, and organized bonfires at Huntington State Beach.
Want to Know More?
Puente openings occur only once a year for the fall semester, and the class is limited to 30 students. Students are admitted based on eligibility for English 100 C. Information sessions are held each spring for the fall program. During the orientation sessions, students will get an overview of the program, have the opportunity to meet a mentor, talk with former Puente students, and learn how to enroll for the program.