EDGE/plEDGE continues preparing students for college virtually


Photo Courtesy of Katie Chartier

Andrew Yzaguirre, Sports Reporter

As the College of the Desert has had to close due to the pandemic, many things have been affected. Things such as classes and programs have been canceled or altered to accommodate the possible changes needed.

The EDGE and plEDGE programs are great for allowing students eligible to get benefits while attending College of The Desert for up to two years.

The EDGE program prepares students for success in college by providing a smooth transition into college life as well as wrap-around support services while students are enrolled

— Katie Chartier, assistant director EDGE/plEDGE

“The EDGE program prepares students for success in college by providing a smooth transition into college life as well as wrap-around support services while students are enrolled,” said Katie Chartier, assistant director of the first-year experience EDGE/plEDGE.

Many students can be unfamiliar with college-level work and commitment straight out of high school; the program provides help to students with a mandatory EDGE summer bridge program if they wish to get into the plEDGE program.

The EDGE summer bridge program consists of two weeks of English and math. It also shows students ways they can become successful while attending COD.

While EDGE is for any new or current students, Chartier said, “To be eligible for plEDGE, students must have recently graduated or equivalent from a high school located within the Coachella Valley, complete the summer bridge EDGE program, enroll in 12 or more units, have a completed financial aid file, complete one career-focused workshop per academic year, serve 10 community service hours per academic year and maintain academic standards.”

Organizers believe it is important to keep students in the valley and attend College of the Desert because going straight to a four-year university can be expensive and often overwhelming for first-year students. Some students may not know what they want to study in school, and community college gives them the chance to try different possibilities without being greatly in debt.

As COD transitioned to online, summer classes and programs were the first to be directly impacted. COD had to make changes to accommodate the EDGE summer bridge program. “It is usually held in person on all five of our campus locations from June-August. The EDGE faculty and staff quickly transitioned the in-person program online and students were able to take their EDGE sessions via canvas and zoom,” said Chartier. With the program quickly being moved online and being successful, it can adapt to any given situation.

Even though the EDGE summer program was still completed, organizers saw a decrease in numbers.

“Last summer in (2019) just under 1,900 students completed the EDGE program, this summer (2020), just over 1,600 students completed the program. This small decrease was expected, and we were happy to be able to serve that many students, given the circumstances,” said Chartier. It can be understood that many students may not have had the opportunity because of the ever-changing world that we are living in.

With that understanding, the program could make changes to allow students to take the bridge course during the wintertime if they were unable to during the summer.

Chartier said, “To accommodate these students, we are offering a makeup session over the winter intersession. This makeup session will allow any eligible student who was unable to complete summer EDGE the opportunity to complete EDGE in January and get into the plEDGE program!”

Students who were unable and are still wanting to be part of plEDGE can start by applying for the winter course on the COD website. The course runs from Jan. 11 – 22, Monday through Friday. Two separate times are also available, one from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and another from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

With Riverside County being heavily affected by COVID-19 cases during October, COD has decided to have 95 percent, online classes.

As the program is meant to help students who are transitioning from high school to College of the Desert, they could keep beneficial aspects of the program for those students.

“These workshops are general COD presentations, EDGE/plEDGE presentations, financial aid presentations, and hands-on workshops as well as hands-on application workshops for students to complete the Fall 2021 applications,” said Chartier.

Even for students going to school who didn’t have the chance but want to be part of the program still, workshops are offered for winter and spring semesters. For any more information, they can be contacted at [email protected] or 760-636-7970.