bridge programs that help ease the transition from high school to college

Posted : April 8, 2009
Last Updated : February 11, 2019

bridge programs that help ease the transition from high school to college

Making the shift from high school senior to college freshman can be intimidating to some students. Thankfully, there are bridge programs available to help make the transition much easier. Get familiar with these beneficial bridge programs that are offered in most communities and through many colleges.

TRIO Bridge Programs

The Federal TRIO Programs are educational outreach programs designed to encourage and assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO programs, such as Student Support Services and Upward Bound, offer bridge courses to help students make the college transition. TRIO staff works with area colleges to provide academic counseling, financial aid counseling, and academic and career development workshops. Before starting college (usually during the summer before freshman year), eligible students follow a curriculum where they learn how to:

  • Survive in college
  • Choose and build a career
  • Be a leader among their peers
  • Develop good study habits
  • Get involved on campus...and much more

To be eligible for TRIO programs, student participants must meet federal low-income guidelines, and/or meet first generation guidelines, and/or be a student with documented disabilities. For more information about bridge programs offered by TRIO, visit or contact your selected college's TRIO program.

College Bridge Programs

Individual colleges also offer their own bridge programs to help entering freshmen have a smooth transition. These school-specific programs vary among colleges, but most offer:

  • College level courses (earn college credit hours)
  • Development seminars
  • College life workshops
  • Social events
  • Mentoring provided by current students...and more

Since most colleges offer bridge programs during the summer, participating freshmen are afforded the opportunity to move in to their dorms in advance of other freshmen and returning students, which further aids in an easier transition. Eligibility and payment requirements for individual college bridge programs will vary from school to school. Contact the student services department at your selected college or university for specific information regarding the school's bridge program.

Dual Enrollment Programs

Dual enrollment is a program that allows high school students (usually sophomores, juniors, and seniors) to enroll in college courses for credit prior to high school graduation. While not technically a bridge program per se, dual enrollment does allow students to transition from high school to college easily. Students can get a taste of what college is like without being completely overwhelmed with a whole new environment. As with bridge programs, the eligibility and financial requirements vary among states and schools. Check with your high school counselor for more information or read High School Dual Enrollment.

Because college differs from high school in a number of ways, these above-mentioned programs are available to help students make the transition to college as smooth as possible. Bridge programs give entering freshmen the opportunity to become more socially and culturally acclimated to college life as well as provide beneficial resources for continued success throughout college.

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