for supporting all student queries, whether financial, adminis-
trative, or academic. Student issues are never “someone else’s
There are two primary staff members who spend significant
face time with students each week (e.g. during Study Time),
providing mentorship, encouragement, and advice. The CSin3
Program Coordinator manages CSin3 student enrollment and
registration, distributes financial aid, manages payroll for tutors
and faculty funded by related grants, and leads recruitment.
The Computer Science Education Coordinator provides aca-
demic support throughout the pathway, tracking the academic
progress of CSin3 students, managing academic interventions
such as tutoring assistance, and leading enrichment sessions.
TUTORING AND PEER-LED TEAM LEARNING
Tutoring for challenging courses provides another layer of academic support for CSin3 students. Tutors are hired through the
tutoring centers at Hartnell and CSUMB, and are directed to
hold hours at times and locations convenient to CSin3 students.
Attending tutoring is not mandatory, although it becomes so if
a student is at academic risk. To improve both their general tutoring skills and pedagogical content knowledge about how to
tutor their topic, tutors participate in weekly training sessions
overseen by the CS Education Coordinator.
Because of the importance of building foundational programming skills early on, a more robust academic support
structure has been created around the first two programming
courses in the CSin3 pathway. The core of this structure is Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) [ 23], where students in more senior
cohorts are trained as Peer Leaders by the CS Education Coordinator, and guide first-year students through collaborative
problem sets for 1. 5-2 hours weekly.
What happens in classes alone is not enough to prepare students for industry, both academically and professionally. CSin3
students attend a weekly three-hour Friday Cohort Enrichment
session in their first year. In the first semester, this session covers cohort culture, incorporates team-building, reviews CS1
programming fundamentals, and develops study skills like time
management and test-taking strategies. In the second semester,
this session covers more CS1 programming fundamentals, as
well as career exploration exercises, resume information, and a
walk-through of a sample side project. In the second and third
years, CSin3 students attend weekly Above and Beyond Computer Science sessions, located at CSUMB, which cover professional preparation skills like resume-building and technical
interview preparation. These enrichment sessions are open to
all CSUMB computer science students.
Having an internship is a key qualification for many computing
jobs, however, first-generation college students, traditionally
underrepresented minority students, and transfer students are
less likely to complete an internship than their peers [ 18]. Be-
ate about CSin3 should be considered, regardless of their rel-
ative qualifications. Qualified students interview with a small
panel of faculty and staff, which provides an opportunity to
ensure applicants understand how CSin3 differs from a typical
college experience and to ensure that students are truly inter-
ested in computer science. Cohort members are conditionally
admitted and required to attend Math Intensive classes, regard-
less of prior math preparation. Active participation in Math In-
tensive is a secondary selective measure for grit and dedication
MATH INTENSIVE AND SUMMER PREPARATION
The need for supplemental support to become math and English ready became evident from the very first recruits into
CSin3. This need for remediation is in line with national trends,
which show that as high as 60% of college students need math
remediation and 28% need English remediation–rates nearly
twice as high as those at four-year public institutions (32% and
10% respectively) [ 25].
During spring semester, a high school mathematics teacher and undergraduate tutors conduct weekly Math Intensive
sessions Saturdays at Hartnell College. Students work through
Khan Academy’s adaptive online curriculum [ 1]. Instructors
monitor student progress via an online dashboard, and students are required to complete a certain number of hours each
week or risk their spot in the cohort. Math Intensive supports
a shift in expectations towards the full-time college workload
Summer Bridge takes place a few weeks before the start of
CSin3 students’ first semester in the program. Led by faculty
and staff from the CSin3 team, the focus is on building cohort
culture, setting expectations about coursework, and giving students a soft introduction to programming and computer science. A letter advising parents of the heavy time commitment
of CSin3 is distributed in both Spanish and English.
STUDY TIME AND PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
Comfortable study space on campus is crucial for CSin3 students, who typically live at home and lack a quiet study environment there. Mandatory “Study Time” of 5-8 hours per week
builds the habit of studying on-campus.
ACCESS TO AND RELATIONSHIPS WITH STAFF
Typically, institutions wait for students to reach out for help,
and they expect students to know where to go among many
distinct departments. First-generation college students not only
face more difficulties understanding the type of help they need,
but are also more likely to attend institutions with higher ratios
of students to staff.
In CSin3, staff members serve as an API layer on top of the
institution, listening to student issues and then guiding students or directly communicating with the correct department
for support. This “one-stop-shop” approach takes responsibility