TORCH Student Success Program

The Torch Student Success Program draws on the strengths and resiliency of first-generation college students and students of color to foster college readiness. The program cultivates leaders, instills community consciousness and promotes academic and co-curricular engagement.

What We Do 

The Torch program includes two components: Summer Bridge and ongoing curriculum, support and special events.

Summer Bridge Program

For all first-year participants, The Torch Student Success Program experience begins during the summer with a six-day immersion program. In a small cohort setting, students move in early and connect with fellow students, staff and faculty before starting college. Participants attend workshops about college readiness, build community with their peers, and participate in local excursions.

Ongoing Curriculum

The summer program is just the beginning. Throughout their time at Dominican, participants attend workshops and social events to keep the sense of community strong.

Who Can Apply

Students who meet the following criteria are eligible to participate in the program:

  • First-generation college student 
  • Enrolled at Dominican University of California

Program Highlights

  • Early arrival to campus
  • Mentoring
  • Social events and community-building
  • Identity exploration
  • Academic success strategies
  • Guest speakers

Who Are First Generation College Students?

A “first-gen” college student is one whose parents did not obtain a bachelor's degree. The term also applies to students whose immediate family members did not finish college at a four-year university. According to TRiO (a federally-funded program for first-gen college students), college students must meet one of the following three criteria to be considered first-gen: 

  • Neither of the student’s parents (natural or adoptive) received a baccalaureate degree.
  • Prior to the age of 18, the student regularly resided with and received support from only one parent. This supporting parent did not receive a baccalaureate degree.
  • Prior to the age of 18, the student did not regularly reside with or receive support from a natural of adoptive parent. 

Student Voices

Torch allowed for me to feel like I was a part of something. It helped me get more comfortable with the transition from being a high schooler to being a college student.”  — Erendira M. 

The Torch program is a unique community full of individuals with different cultural, economic and social backgrounds. I not only made very close friendships, but I also learned how to successfully navigate college academic life." — Deanna L.

Suggested Courses

The Torch Student Success Program emphasizes continued learning and ongoing support. We highly encourage participants to enroll in the Navigating College  course offered during the fall semester, hosted through the Academic Advising office. 

Meet our team

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Jessica Frazier, MA

Director of Student Engagement & TORCH Success Program
Stacy Davidson headshot

Stacy L. Poe, MA

Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion La Vida Dominican Postbaccalaureate Inclusivity & Belonging Fellow
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Aaron Clark, MS

Director, Housing and Residence Life