Summer Bridge Programs for

Incoming College Students

Transitioning to college can be an exciting yet intimidating experience for many high school students. With new and unknown academic and social challenges on the horizon, it's normal for students to feel overwhelmed. The good news is that a summer bridge program can help alleviate some of the stress and make the transition to college easy and enjoyable.

Here we'll briefly discuss the benefits of summer bridge programs and then share an up-to-date list of programs your students might be interested in. 

The Benefits of Summer Bridge Programs

Many colleges and universities offer structured summer programs for incoming students to support their academic and social transition to their institution. These cohort-based programs serve as a supportive "bridge" from students' high school to their four-year college experience.

Summer bridge programs are often designed specifically to serve communities of students with limited access to higher education, including students of color, students in the first generation of their family to earn a bachelor's degree, students from low-income households, and students whose backgrounds are underrepresented in particular academic disciplines.

Some students may be apprehensive about dedicating time during their summer to a transitional bridge program, but participating has many benefits. Bridge programs provide students with early exposure to academic and career resources, create opportunities for students to meet staff and faculty mentors, and help students form friendships with their peers.

Additionally, some summer bridge programs may allow students to earn college credit and satisfy degree requirements before their first year. Finally, some programs provide students with financial assistance through a stipend or purchased technology.

The goal is that incoming students who complete a summer bridge experience will enter their fall term with confidence, a network of support, and a strong foundation for success.

Applying or Enrolling in a Summer Bridge Program

No two bridge programs are alike, so students must review the details specific to their college. For example, summer bridge programs may have a separate online application or registration process to be completed after a student has submitted their application for undergraduate admission to the college. Other bridge programs require no separate application; instead, eligible students are automatically considered and selected during the general undergraduate admissions process.

In some cases, selected students may be required to complete the program as a condition of their enrollment at the institution. A conditional offer of admission contingent on successful completion of a summer bridge program may be referred to as an alternative admissions pathway.

Learn more about this year's transition programs for incoming students at US colleges and universities.

How to Use the Summer Bridge Program List

You can view the full list in the original window or click ‘view larger version’ in the bottom right corner of the table for an expanded view. The list can be filtered, sorted, or grouped based on the following characteristics:

  • Host institution
  • State/Location
  • Intended audience
  • Duration of program
  • Selection process

Event information will be updated throughout the year, so check around the time of admission decision release for updates. Please email College Greenlight if you have any questions about this list. To submit an addition or update to this list, please complete this form.