Why ALL FIRST-YEARS Should Do Summer Bridge (coming from a former bridgee!)

Hey there! Congratulations on making it to UC Berkeley! You are about to embark on an amazing four-year journey here. Now, you may be wondering… How can I make the most of my summer? Well, I have got the answer for you! Summer 2021, I was exactly in your situation. I was doing Golden Bear Advising (GBA) and wondering what else can I do to get a head start on creating my Berkeley experience. That’s when I signed up for Summer Bridge at the very last minute. Do I regret it? Absolutely not!

What is Summer Bridge (no for real though)?

Wait, Wait, Wait. What even is Summer Bridge? Is it… like an actual bridge? No, silly! (Well, metaphorically yes). Summer Bridge is a six-week program where freshman students can enroll in certain classes to get ahead on their college breadth and/or UC Berkeley’s graduation requirements. 

Summer Bridge allows first-year students to “cross” into college by getting a taste of academic life at Cal. You get hands-on experience in college classes, right before your first official semester. This will allow you to also explore different subjects you may not have had a chance to in high school.

 

Sounds Cool! But, what classes can I even take?

Summer Bridge offers certain classes every summer from a wide range of options. Each summer is unique in its own way through the courses being offered. My bridge experience (Summer 2021, shoutout to the second online cohort!) offered a really cool class called “Lives of Struggle: Minorities Within A Majority Culture” (AFRICAM 27AC) which satisfied my American Cultures requirement.

This class LITERALLY changed my life. Professor Rose Wilkerson was our instructor and she is brilliant! This was the first time I ever took a class in African American studies and Ethnic Studies, as a whole. From there, I ended up deciding to major in Ethnic Studies! Summer Bridge really allows you to explore a multitude of subjects through its classes.

Here are some of the classes being offered (or that have been offered):

  • Anthropology 2AC – Introduction to Archaeology
  • Anthropology 3AC – Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • African American Studies 27AC – Lives of Struggle: Minorities Within A Majority Culture
  • Mathematics 32 – Precalculus
  • Statistics 2  – Introduction to Statistics (I took this one too!)
  • Chemistry 32 – Preparation for General Chemistry
  • Art and Humanities C132 – Archiving for Social Justice
  • Theater 5 – Public Speaking
  • Chicano 50 – Introduction to Chicanx History

 

How am I going to be supported with my classes?

All Summer Bridge students get access to the plethora of services offered by our Student Learning Center (SLC). The SLC offers free tutoring services for a variety of subjects and a Free Writing Clinic. Students who need help with their writing assignments, and term papers, and is especially useful for any students who take the Reading/Comprehension classes (R1A and R1B)!

Each professor and Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) is here to help you succeed to your fullest potential in Summer Bridge. Don’t be shy and ask questions! They are here to help 🙂

 

Okay, but what about Freshman Edge? Can’t I take classes through that?

The short answer, yes. You could take those classes through Freshman Edge, which are offered by our Summer Sessions department. However, you’ll be somewhat limited because some of the classes offered through Summer Bridge are ONLY offered to bridgees! Through Freshman Edge, you’ll be enrolled in classes with all types of students. While this can be beneficial, Summer Bridge provides a closer-knit community of students entering their first year (like you!)

Many of my friends coming into Cal were from Summer Bridge. I still remember my AFRICAM 27AC project group and my study group for STAT 2. These folks help make coming into Cal while being the only one from my high school a super easy transition. 

Even better! All Summer Bridgees are enrolled in a FREE (yes, free) one-unit class called Bridge Connect! Bridge Connect is a mentorship program that pairs bridgees with a Graduate Student Mentor who can guide you as you explore different majors, minors, and career paths you want to pursue after your time at Berkeley! 

I loved my Bridge Connect Mentor! He was a Ph.D. student in English and was always super supportive and encouraging towards all of us in our small group. I still talk with some of the people in my Bridge Connect cohort today and we all support each other in our goals for UC Berkeley and beyond!

 

Sounds really cool! How do I sign up??

You can sign up via your MAP@Berkeley account! Sign-ups start when admissions begin to roll out in February/March and end around May!
You can learn more about signing up for Summer Bridge and the Student Learning Center here!

Author: Ethan Collier

Howdy! My name is Ethan (he/they). I am a rising second-year triple-major at Cal. I hope to study Education, Ethnic Studies, and Social Welfare. After my undergraduate years, I want to pursue my MSW and become a licensed social worker or a secondary teacher! Outside of writing for BearTalk and being a Campus Ambassador, I am also involved in ASUC, SACUE, Ballet Folklórico, GENup Collegiate, and Aspiring Educators at Berkeley. Ask me about student government, clubs on campus, and how to make the most out of your time at Cal <3