2010 | Archives
Coordinator Transforms High School Students into College-Ready
Who: Monica Beasley
Academic Program: Outreach facilitator, Bridge to
Many Hats: As the Bridge to Success Coordinator,
Beasley is an advisor, cheerleader, facilitator, mentor and
motivator. "I wear every hat that needs to be worn."
The Bridge to Success Motto: "Success is a
given… because failure is not an option."
During her years as coordinator of MCC's Bridge to Success
program, Monica Beasley has witnessed many students successfully
transition into college after floundering in high school. But one in
particular stands out—the high school student who became not
only the first in her family to attend college, but also the first in
her family to graduate high school.
"A lot of students don't believe they are college material,"
Beasley said. "We put them in the college setting right away to show
them that yes, they are college material already. It's working
Founded in 2004, Bridge to Success partners with Omaha Public
Schools to offer MCC college courses to African American, Native
American and Latino/Hispanic students in high school. MCC created the
program to expand on its efforts to offer college classes to high
school students, giving them a jumpstart on college. Bridge to
Success goes one step further, helping students build college-level
study and reading skills while providing additional advising services.
By getting young people accustomed to college early, they are more
likely to be successful after high school. "Not everybody is ready
for an early college experience, but we can help get them ready,"
When Beasley came to MCC in 1998 as a part-time employee, she
wasn't planning to stay at the College for long. As she grew at MCC,
she learned more about the mission of the College and how she could
be a part of it. "Everything was all about the student," she said.
"How to make the student better, what services to provide to
facilitate the journey and how to provide a bridge to get the
students where they needed to go."
As a co-founder of Bridge to Success, her efforts have helped
hundreds of high school students succeed in college. With the extra
attention, youth who may not have been considered college material
are succeeding as college students. "Now, the young people look out
of place in high school," Beasley said.
- Protect your GPA, even in ninth
grade. A lot of students don't realize how valuable
their GPA is until it is too late. Hard work pays
off—often with scholarships.
- Explore colleges early at college
fairs or college visits. Stop by a college campus, get
a feel for what it's like and ask lots of
- Volunteer. Contrary to what many
believe, GPA and athletics aren't the only ways to
earn scholarships. Be involved. Find community
solutions. Innovate. There are many scholarships for
- Be ready for college by your
junior year. Senior year is not the time to begin
thinking about college. Start preparing early with
college visits, rigorous coursework and community
- Take the ACT early. Students who
get high scores do so because they have exposure to
the test. Practice helps.