Twenty-six local high school seniors came to Belmont’s campus Monday to sign a proclamation welcoming them to the University and to begin their college careers with an initial family orientation. Following the signing ceremony, students and their parents attended their first Belmont orientation sessions, took tours of campus and enjoyed a meal together.
As a participant in the “Bridges to Belmont” program, all of the students’ expenses—tuition, room, board, required fees and books—that are not covered by state or federal grant resources will be provided via scholarships from Belmont for four consecutive academic years beginning with 2013-14.
Enrollment eligibility will then follow the standard satisfactory academic progress expectations of all students. The Bridges to Belmont program is designed to enroll high potential students from Metro Nashville Public Schools who may not have previously been able to consider Belmont as an option.
Belmont University President Bob Fisher applauded the Bridge Scholars for their hard work so far and their acceptance to college and thanked them in advance for what they will contribute to the University throughout the next four years. “Our biggest focus is to help you figure out your purpose in life. I can’t tell you what it is, but I can tell you we’re going to figure that out in this journey together.” (Click here to view the Signing Ceremony on Belmont’s YouTube channel.)
The 2013-14 pilot program consists of 13 students each from Maplewood and Stratford High Schools. In addition to the full scholarships, the Bridges to Belmont program will focus on creating a learning and service environment to empower students’ personal passion to meet the needs of the world. Bridge students will live and work on campus the summer prior to enrollment while attending an intensive institute that will allow them to take full advantage of the opportunities the college environment will offer. Programming will focus on quantitative reasoning, writing, public speaking skills and research methods as well as on creating a community of learners. The summer immersion program, which is anticipated to begin in July, also will include community service and social activities for participants.
Bridges to Belmont is the result of a deliberate effort on the part of Belmont’s administration to engage inner-city students with the University. Belmont senior leaders along with University enrollment and academic officers have met with MNPS principals and admission counselors during the past several months to establish the foundations for the program. Bridges to Belmont also reflects a continuing effort to provide higher education to students in Davidson County as Belmont strives to be Nashville’s University. In 2007, Belmont established the E.S. Rose Park and Community Outreach Scholarships, and there are 11 current Belmont students—all from Davidson County—who are benefitting from those efforts.