college students smiling

First-Year Bridge is designed to provide you with the support you need to have a successful start in college.

Our program offers smaller classes with excellent instructors and individualized academic advising. You’ll start working toward the college major of your choice and transition to full admission with the right resources at hand. Students who are admitted to the First-Year Bridge Program are new freshmen whose academic record indicates they may benefit from additional support in their first year at UWM, especially in the areas of math and English. 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.

Next steps:

kiya testimonial

First-Year Bridge really helped me transition from high school into college. There are many kindhearted teachers that will proudly help you any time.

KiyaFirst-Year Bridge Student
joe testimonial

The Bridge math specialist, Mr. Nick Johnson, gave the coolest math lesson I’ve ever seen! It was all about multiplication and division and it was called ‘Exploding Dots.’

JoeFirst-Year Bridge Student
kendra testimonial

Bridge helped me learn how to apply my skills to every task. I can ask questions and get help when I need it. I feel more confident in school than I ever have.

KendraFirst-Year Bridge Student
carson testimonial

My overall experience with the First-Year Bridge Program has been very positive. There are plenty of resources and the professors are incredibly helpful and supportive.

CarsonFirst-Year Bridge Student
Math specialist sharing a light moment with students.
Math specialist Nick Johnson sharing a light moment with two Bridge students, Eric Kunz and Dashawn Williams. Nick works hard to support students through their math challenges, but he believes in sharing “math joy” with them as well.

Academic Coursework & Support

Coursework in the first 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 Center (Northwest Quadrant – 1932D).

You will be expected to meet weekly with a math and writing specialist in addition to meeting with an academic advisor regularly. After the successful completion of this one-year program, you will have the opportunity to transition into many of UWM’s four-year degree programs or complete the two-year associate degree at UWM at Washington County or UWM at Waukesha.

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 is 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 support built right into your day. Upon successful completion, you will have:

  • Academic credits to apply toward your degree.
  • 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.
college student in library


Admitting you to UWM through the College of General Studies 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.  First-Year Bridge tuition for Wisconsin residents for the 2022-23 academic year will be approximately $2,545 per semester for a full-time student, and segregated fees will be approximately $581 per semester. For more information on tuition and fees, including housing and meal-plan costs, please visit the One Stop Finances website.

Financial Aid

We strongly encourage all students to submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. 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 form as soon as possible. Funds are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Read more information about the financial aid process. Additional financial aid questions can be answered by submitting the online Contact Financial Aid form.

University Housing

Students interested in living on campus are encouraged to learn more about the Residence Hall Waitlist Application.


What is First-Year Bridge?

First-Year Bridge is a one-year program that is offered to first-year UWM students. The purpose of the program is to provide students with additional support in their transition from high school to college so they can have a successful first year.

What is the College of General Studies?

The College of General Studies is one of the many schools and colleges within UWM. The College of General Studies offers a range of freshman- and sophomore-level general education courses that satisfy the general education requirements for all undergraduate degrees at UWM.

Why am I in First-Year Bridge?

UWM’s Admissions Office recommends this program to students whose application materials suggest the student could benefit from additional support in math and English.

What are the benefits of being a First Year Bridge student?

Bridge students are in smaller classes, have more access to their academic advisors, and have writing and math support built into the program.

Why am I considered an associate degree student?

We use associate-level courses for the First-Year Bridge program to allow us to offer them to you at a lower tuition rate. All credits earned can be applied to either an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree.

Am I still considered a UWM student?

Students admitted into the bridge program are considered UWM students and have access to all of the resources that other UWM students have, such as student housing, the Norris Health Center and the Klotsche recreation center.

Why am I in some classes that do no have any credits?

The noncredit math course you are in (CGS MAT 75) is due to your current math placement level. At the end of the semester, you will complete a new placement test that will either satisfy your core math requirement or place you into a credit-bearing math class that will satisfy the core math requirement. The co-curricular support classes (CGS ENG 99 and CGS LEA 102) are designed to give you additional support in math and writing, which should help you get your college career off to a strong start in your other courses.

Am I considered a full-time student?

Yes, Bridge students are considered full-time students. The noncredit courses are factored into the credit load for financial aid purposes.

How many credits will I earn this year? Will being in FYB put me behind?

Students who successfully complete all Bridge coursework without dropping any classes in the fall and spring semesters should have at least 20 credits by the end of their first-year experience. The credits earned during Bridge will be applied towards your bachelor’s and/or associate degree program.

Can I still finish a degree in four years?

Every student’s academic journey is different. All UWM students are required to take courses outside of their majors; these courses are called “general education” courses. Since the goal of a college degree is to help students become well-rounded individuals, students will be asked to take courses in the following areas: writing, math, arts, humanities, social science and natural sciences, and you will complete some of these requirements in First-Year Bridge.

It will still be possible for you to complete many degrees in four years. However, some majors have specific requirements, such as field placements, internships and practicums, along with required courses, that make them more challenging to complete in four years.

If you want to shorten your time in college, you can consider taking classes during the summer or UWinteriM.

Why am I not taking any courses that are related to my major in my first semester?

Most UWM students will spend their first two semesters fulfilling their general education required courses (writing, math, arts, humanities, social science and natural sciences). The Bridge program will provide students with classes that will satisfy many of those requirements. After completing Bridge, students will have opportunities to have a greater selection of classes.

Can I go into any program I choose after completing First-Year Bridge?

First-Year Bridge students will be treated like all other UWM students when it comes to applying to specific programs. Each UWM undergraduate degree program has different grade point average and entry requirements. The Bridge advisor will work closely with each student to assist with the transfer process.


Angie Izard
Director, First-Year Bridge Program

Karen Vanalken
Academic Advisor

Cynthia Roberts
Academic Advisor

Nicholas Johnson
Math Specialist

Joshua Speer
Math Specialist

Spencer Creal
Writing Specialist

John Ramey
Writing Specialist

Monday – Thursday 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Closed Friday