Puente Program

Meet Online with Puente via Cranium Cafe

Puente Cohort of 2018-2019

Puente Program

Puente means “bridge” in Spanish. As the name suggests, we help students build bridges to higher education.

The mission of the Puente Program is to increase the number of students who transfer to 4 year universities, graduate, and return to their communities as leaders. Specifically, we will help you transition into a college setting, support you with counseling & classes, connect you to a community of motivated peers, and provide you with knowledge to succeed both inside and outside the classroom.

Puente is a cohort based learning community. This means that first year students will take one English transfer-level class and one Counseling transfer-level class per semester. Students will attend classes with the same group over the entire year.

Students tend to make lasting relationships with members of the Puente community. This allows them to seek guidance, assistance, and motivation from people invested in their futures.

Puente students are:

  • Committed to participate in all program activities (typically once a month, per semester)
  • Enrolled in Puente English and Counseling courses in their first year (Fall and Spring)
  • Planning to transfer to a 4 year university

While the Puente program focuses on Latinx culture, issues, and literature, we are open to any student who is willing to commit to the program.

During your first year in Puente, you will:

  • Complete coursework that transfers to ANY California Public University
  • Receive guidance from your specific Puente counselor
  • Connect to a mentor who will share their college, career, and life experience
  • Attend a motivational conference with over 1,000 Puentistas from across California
  • Attend custom tours of California schools
  • Gain access to exclusive scholarships, leadership opportunities, and writing seminars across the state

After successful completion of classes, students will have progressed in the following ways towards transferring to ANY California public university:

  • Earned at least 9 transfer level units
  • Completed English transfer requirements
  • Created an educational plan listing the exact courses by semester needed to transfer
  • Researched careers and majors related to your interests and personality

After their first year, Puente students remain in the program and are offered the following:

  • Consistent meetings with their Puente counselor
  • Priority registration to pick classes on days and times that fit their busy schedule
  • Customized workshops on the transfer process to UCs and CSUs
  • Information for transfer based programs on colleges across the state

Contact Us

Joe Bucher

Joe Bucher


(408) 741-2614
Student Services Center

Leslie Saito-Liu

Leslie Saito-Liu

English Instructor, Puente co-coordinator

(408) 741-4010

The Puente Program provides students with a supportive community and a sense of family on the college campus. Puente students help each other to achieve their goals and dreams. This is achieved (in part) by creating a learning community with Counseling and English; COUN 5 with ENGL 1A during Fall semester, and COUN 12C with ENGL 1B during Spring semester.

Puente Program


Puente students take two consecutive writing classes (ENGL 1A and ENGL 1B) and two counseling courses (COUN 5: College Success and 12C: Career and Life Planning). These classes provide a supportive and stimulating environment for Puente students to build confidence in their writing skills through an exploration of the Chicano/Latino experience.

Puente students work closely with their Puente counselor both in a counseling class and individually until they graduate. Together, they explore career options, develop an academic educational plan, and identify lifetime goals. Students will visit public and private university campuses as well as attend an annual Puente student transfer conference.

Fall Semester

CSU and UC Transferable Course

Course Description

College Success is a course that will help you explore the many possibilities that are available to you in college and life in general. The goals of this course include aiding you in the discovery of yourself, which include your interests, values, and skills and how they correspond in your decision of a major and career. This course will also provide you with the skills necessary to help you in your educational pursuits here at West Valley College and beyond. We will cover material that will help you in making the most of the resources that are available to you as they pertain to achieving your academic goals.


Must be concurrently enrolled in ENGL 1A (Puente) class.

Required Textbook:

On Course: "Living and Learning" by Gerald Corey, Cindy Corey, Heidi Jo Corey

This course is a collegiate-level course that is required to transfer to a 4-year university and to earn an AA/AA-T degree. We’ll focus on practicing how to produce clear and effective writing, how to read analytically, and how to conduct research for writing assignments. A series of essays including a documented research paper will be completed. We’ll continue to examine factors that contribute to or interfere with personal motivation but will also consider how people work to address problems, overcome obstacles, and create positive change in their communities.

Spring Semester

CSU Transferable Course

Course Description

Career and Life Planning is a continuation of the work we began in our Puente COUNS 5 class. This semester, we will continue to explore strategies that can help you succeed in college and the workplace. There will be a particular focus on how to better market yourself for your educational and career goals. What can you do to get into the college and job of your choice?

By the end of this course you will have your own resume, personal statement for college, a scholarship application essay, and a tentative life plan (I consider it more of a "dream plan"). We will also attend various educational conferences at different 4 year schools in the Bay Area. In addition to the conferences, we will also go to visit some colleges and universities.


Must be concurrently enrolled in ENGL 1B (Puente) class.

This course is a collegiate-level course that meets the critical thinking requirement to transfer to a 4-year university and to earn an AA/AA-T degree. In this section of English 1B, we will investigate many of the things that are below the surface of drama, poetry, and other fictional works. We will meet some characters who are not always what they seem, read poetry and stories that uphold and defy traditions, and dive into texts that may reflect our common world or take us into strange and different places beyond the familiar. A series of essays including a documented research paper will be completed. Finally, we will be using different literary theories to consider ways to read, interpret, and discuss the selected works.


Puente is unique in providing students a professional mentor. Mentors are seen as friendly, helpful, and having navigated a path that students are starting.

The mentor’s role is to help the student by sharing their own experiences in college, talking about their career, and providing overall support and guidance. Mentors receive training and support from the Puente faculty. Puente's mentors come from a wide variety of professions: health professionals, teachers, lawyers, engineers, social workers, government workers, business people, college campus employees, and more.

Each mentor and student are paired specifically for one academic year. The Puente team gets to know each student and mentor before pairing them with intention.

Puente asks the mentors to donate two hours per month. These hours are arranged to suit the convenience of the mentor/student team. To assist with this, we encourage regular phone and/or e-mail contact, participation in our Puente activities and events, and at least one work site visit for the student. In addition, mentors are asked to attend a mentor training workshop which will assist them in developing a successful relationship with their student mentee.

If you are interested in participating as a mentor, please contact Joe Bucher at joe.bucherFREEWEST_VALLEY

Last Updated 4/28/22