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Palomar College Hispanic Serving Institution HSI

What is the Puente Program?

  • The Puente Program is a national award winning program that has helped thousands of students transfer to a university, earn degrees and return to the community as leaders and mentors to future generations.
  • The Puente Program is open to all students and is designed to meet the needs of students impacted with low rates of degree completion and low rates of enrollment at four-year colleges.
  • Students come from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds and are usually the first in their families to attend college.

Puente Project History

  • Puente was founded in 1981 by Felix Galaviz and Patricia McGrath at Chabot College in Hayward, California.
  • The Project’s mission was to increase the number of students transferring to four-year colleges and universities. Since then, Puente has expanded to over 70 community college and 36 high schools in California.
  • For additional information about the Puente Project at California Community Colleges, please visit: http://puente.berkeley.edu/community-college-programs

Outstanding results:

  • Community colleges with Puente programs transfer significantly more students to the University of California than colleges without Puente.
  • Students in Puente work closely with their Counselor, English instructor, and Mentor to prepare for transfer to four-year university.
  • Puente students will participate in the following components: Counseling, English Instruction and Mentoring.


  • Puente students take Counseling 110: a 3 unit- transferable College Success Skills class in the fall and a Counseling 101: Transfer Success in the spring semester.
  • Puente students work with the Puente counselor until they graduate from Palomar College.
  • In addition to developing a comprehensive educational plan, students will also explore and identify a career pathway, network with professionals in the community and develop short term and long-term life goals.
  • Students visit UC and CSU campuses and attend an annual Puente Motivational Conference.

English Instruction

  • Puente students take two consecutive writing classes with the same Puente English Instructor: English 100 and English 49 during fall semester and English 202 during the spring semester.
  • 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 9 hours of contact during fall semester and another 9 hours during the spring semester.
  • Mentors share their knowledge and experience with students.
  • Our Puente mentors provides many resources for the Puente students, their families, their colleges, and the community.

Benefits to Students:

  • Succeed academically as a team. (1- year Learning Community)
  • Develop and improve reading and writing skills.
  • Create a successful transfer plan.
  • Develop new friendships at Palomar College and with other Puente students at San Diego Community Colleges.
  • Visit college campuses and make university contacts.
  • Meet professionals in the community. (Mentor Mixer) 
  • Become part of the college community.
  • Puente students are recognized as leaders and scholars.
  • Belong to a statewide network of leaders and professionals.
  • Graduate from four-year colleges and universities.
  • Participate in culturally-enriching activities.
  • Learn strategies for success in college and in life.

Join The Puente Program!

  • Students who are interested in joining the Puente program complete an interest form and attend an orientation before the fall semester starts.
  • Students must enroll in English 100, English 49 and Counseling 110 for the fall semester.

Puente Project Presentation & Student Testimonials

Make a Tax-deductible Charitable Donation

  • Puente is able to facilitate university campus visits, provide student scholarships, and support an extensive mentor program through donations from community members.
  • You can make a tax-deductable charitable donation to the Puente program by going to the Palomar College Foundation and selecting “Puente Program” in the “Additional Information Fund” drop-down menu.

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