Two students working in a science lab examining a piece of electronic lab equipment

Summer Bridge is a 3-week intensive program that welcomes incoming first-generation and/or low-income (FLI) students to the College community right before orientation. Students get a chance to take four ungraded classes to acclimate to the college environment and to explore academic support resources on campus before the fall semester begins. They also have the opportunity to move to campus early, meet roommates, explore campus and local activities, and connect with a mentor. There is no cost to participate.

One of the main goals of the program is to build community and a sense of belonging among FLI students. Academically, professors and staff welcome students to the Amherst intellectual community during the program and emphasize building a growth mindset. Socially, the program offers students the opportunity to develop a connection to campus life and develop friendships and mentoring relationships with students who completed the program in previous years (who serve as Residential Tutors).

My favorite memories are those in which I got the opportunity to create bonds with those around me. Whether we were up late studying Econ or playing board games, we always found time to laugh, to enjoy each other’s presence, to make connections.” —Michelle Rodriguez ’25

Academic Goals

During Summer Bridge, students will have the opportunity to practice:

  • preparing for class sessions, including: engaging with materials on Moodle, completing assigned readings, and taking notes
  • applying college-level reading strategies to comprehend and analyze challenging texts
  • exhibiting a strong classroom presence, including actively participating in discussion, taking detailed notes, and demonstrating engaged listening skills
  • completing assessments, such as tests, quizzes, and/or essays
  • using multi-step processes to write, study, and solve problems
  • receiving and applying constructive feedback from faculty inside the classroom and on assignments (like homework, essays, problem sets, and other work)
  • visiting office hours and writing emails to faculty
  • identifying and using academic support systems, such as the Moss Q Center, the Writing Center, and the Strategic Learning Center, among others


Who is invited?

Students who are first-generation and/or low income (FLI) and those who can benefit from the Intensive Advising program. Most of the students participating in Summer Bridge have not had significant previous exposure to a college environment. Participants are selected by Summer Bridge directors in consultation with Student Affairs and Admissions to participate in the program.

When are invitations distributed?

Invitations are issued in late May or early June, and students are asked to confirm participation in June.

Must students participate in all 3 weeks?

Students must attend the entire program in order to participate.

How much does the program cost?

There is no cost to students to participate in the program. In fact, students may be issued a financial aid credit, depending on the status of their financial need, for participation in the program. They will also receive a laptop, which is theirs to use throughout their four years as an Amherst College student.

What does Summer Bridge provide?

Summer Bridge provides a dorm room and meals at Val, as well as books and supplies for classes, during the 3 weeks of the program. It also provides transportation to campus in August.

What are the benefits of attending Summer Bridge?

Students get to explore the Amherst campus early, making connections to spaces on campus and to professors, staff, and other Summer Bridge participants. They try out four classes in an ungraded 3-week program, allowing them to learn about new subjects they might not have taken in high school and to adjust to college academics in a low-stakes environment. They are also assigned an Intensive Advisor who meets with them biweekly during their first year of college. Read more about all of the benefits.