Southwestern College


Puente Project History

Puente was founded in 1981 by the Co-Directors, Felix Galaviz and Patricia McGrath, at Chabot College in Hayward, California. The Project's mission was to increase the number of Mexican-American/Latino students transferring to four-year colleges and universities. Since then, Puente has expanded to 57 community college and 36 high schools in California.

Outstanding results:

Community colleges with Puente programs transfer significantly more Latino students to the University of California than colleges without Puente. Southwestern College Puente Project has successfully transferred hundreds of students to major universities and colleges.

Puente – What is it all about?

Puente is open to all students and is designed to meet the needs of students from populations with low rates of enrollment at four-year colleges. Puente Project Faculty recruit students from high schools, our own community college campus and student orientations. Students who are college bound enroll in the program by attending a campus orientation, and completing and application and interview process. Students must be eligible for English 114 in the fall of the academic year. Students come from a range of backgrounds and are usually the first in their families to attend college.
Students in Puente work closely with their counselor, English instructor, and mentor to prepare for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Puente students will participate in the following three main components:


Puente students take a 3 unit, transferable Personal Development 100, College Success Skills class in the fall. Additionally, they work individually with the Puente counselor until they graduate from Southwestern College, exploring career options, developing an academic educational plan, and identifying lifetime goals. Students visit UC and CSU campuses and attend an annual Puente Motivational Conference.

English Instruction

Puente students take two consecutive writing classes, English 114 and English 115 with the same Puente English Instructor. These classes provide a supportive environment for Puente students to build confidence in their writing skills. The content of both courses focuses on Latino/a authors and issues.


Each Puente student is matched with a mentor who is a businessperson or professional in the local community. Students and their mentors commit to a minimum of nine hours of contact during the academic year. Mentors share their knowledge and experiences with students. The network of trained Puente mentors provides many resources for the Puente students, their families, their colleges, and the community.

Benefits to Students

Join the Puente Club 

 Become part of the
San Diego Puente Project Alliance

Are recognized
as leaders and scholars

 Visit college campuses  

Succeed academically

 Belong to a statewide
network of leaders and

Meet professionals in our community

 Graduate from
four-year colleges
and universities

 Develop and improve reading and writing skills

Network with students
from throughout Southern California  

Participate in culturally-enriching activities

Make university contacts

Create a successful transfer plan

Learn strategies for success in college and in life 

Meet new Friends

  Become part of the college community

Interested?  Fill out this Student Information Sheet or come to the SWC Counseling Center and ask to meet with our Puente Counselor. The Counseling Center is located on the second floor of the Student Services Center, or call (619) 421-6700 x 5240 

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Last updated: 8/28/2018 8:56:27 PM