First-Year Bridge Program

Program Overview

First-Year Bridge is designed to provide you with the support needed to have a successful start in college. Our program offers smaller classes with excellent instructors and individualized academic advising, all of which will help you start working toward the college major of your choice and transition to full admission with the right resources at hand. Being a First-Year Bridge student means you have full access to hundreds of student organizations, dozens of campus resources, and countless opportunities on the main campus while having the affordable tuition rate of the College of General Studies.

The College of General Studies (CGS) has an access mission and provides a general education core curriculum needed for the associate degree and most bachelor’s degree programs. As a First-Year Bridge student, you will benefit from the personalized academic support that CGS provides to first- and second-year college students.

You will be expected to meet regularly with a Success Coach and academic support staff (math and writing specialists) in addition to meeting with an academic advisor  each semester. After the successful completion of this one-year program, you will have the opportunity to transition into any of UWM’s four-year degree programs or complete the two-year associate degree.

Academic Coursework & Support

Coursework in the Fall 2020 semester will include a first-year writing course, math course, and other introductory courses that will provide you with academic support and a structured transition to college. Professional tutoring, academic advising, and success coaching will be available in the First-Year Bridge Student Success Center (Northwest Quadrant – 1932D), which is open Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

You are not required to have a declared major when you start the program, but if you have one, we will advise you accordingly. Our goal will be to help you identify a major by the end of your second semester so that you can transfer into the appropriate school or college within UWM to complete your associate or bachelor’s degree.

Program Advantages

During First-Year Bridge you will be connected to a comprehensive network of academic resources while learning in a small classroom environment with supplemental tutoring built right into your day. Upon completion, you will have:

  • 22 academic credits
  • A well-defined academic plan and career path
  • A strong academic and social support network
  • A solid foundation upon which to build a successful college experience

First-Year Bridge Tuition

Admitting you through CGS means admitting you at the two-year associate degree level, where tuition is less than two-thirds the cost of UWM’s four-year programs. Tuition is approximately $246 per credit or about $2,956 per semester for a full-time student. For more information on tuition and fees, please visit the page on the One Stop Finances website.

Financial Aid

We strongly encourage all students to submit a 2020-2021 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This is the first step needed to determine your eligibility for state and federal financial aid.

The Financial Aid Office is available to answer any questions and can assist you with completing the necessary paperwork. We encourage you to complete the FAFSA application as soon as possible. Funds are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

More information about the financial aid process can be found here, and additional financial aid questions can be answered by submitting the online Contact Financial Aid form.

University Housing

Due to COVID-19, we cannot guarantee a spot in University Housing this year. Students interested in living on campus are encouraged to learn more about the Residence Hall Waitlist Application here.

Important Dates to Remember

  • June 1, 2020: $150 Confirmation Deposit Due (via PAWS) and Housing Contract or Exemption Due
  • July 16, 2020: Mandatory New Student First-Year Bridge Orientation
  • September 2, 2020: Fall Classes Begin
  • September 16, 2020: Add Deadline
  • September 29, 2020: Last Day to Drop without W
  • November 8, 2020: Drop Deadline
  • November 25-29, 2020: Thanksgiving Break
  • December 14, 2020: Last Day of Classes
  • December 15, 2020: Study Day
  • December 16-23, 2020: Final Exams
  • December 20, 2020: Graduation Ceremony
  • December 24, 2020-January 22, 2021: Winter Break

Questions? Contact our First-Year Bridge Success Coach with any questions regarding the program at 414-229-2779 or