Skip to main content
Navigate Up
Sign In

School of Education and Human Development University of Colorado Denver


Pre Collegiate & Summer Bridge Programs


Pre-collegiate programs are intended to facilitate high school students’ transition to college by engaging them in college-level course work and exposure to university life.  Pre-collegiate courses are geared toward teaching students studying skills as well as time management strategies, while allowing them a jumpstart on their college education prior to their freshman year.  Summer bridge programs are available to middle school and high school  students and are designed to continue a student’s education over their summer break.  The following is a list of programs currently offered at the University of Colorado Denver with website and/or contact information where applicable.  Please feel free to contact us to add to the list.


Aurora Lights

Website: Aurora Lights

The Colorado and Central AHECs, along with the Aurora Public Schools, are excited to announce a new collaboration called Aurora LIGHTS (Leading the way in Health Sciences). The Aurora LIGHTS Career Program is a new partnership designed to help minority and disadvantaged students succeed in science, enroll in pre-med and health sciences school programs and become health science professionals. Aurora LIGHTS is engaging a range of partners with expertise and resources to help students achieve this goal; in addition to AHEC and Aurora Public Schools, these include UCD, Community College of Aurora and the Metropolitan Community Provider Network (Aurora’s local community health network). This collaboration will support educationally and economically disadvantaged students to enter a pipeline program extending from kindergarten through the health professional schools at UCD, with a focus on education, recruitment and retention in the health sciences. Central AHEC will be a lead partner in expanding ongoing programs and developing new programs, such as an expansion of the Summer Academy into year-long activities with Aurora Public Schools. Partner schools involved in Aurora Lights include Montview, Paris and Parklane Elementary Schools, North Middle School, Hinkley, Aurora Central and Williams Smith High School, and the Community College of Aurora and Pickens Technology College.  Partner organizations include AHEC and Metro Community Provider Network.


CREATE Health Scholars
Contact: Dr. Jennifer Hellier,
Website: Create Health Scholars

CREATE Health is a yearlong program with a one-month intensive summer Pre-Health Professions Institute for undergraduates in Colorado colleges and universities. The purpose of the CREATE Health Scholars grant is to improve, enhance and support pre-health education in rural and urban under-served communities. CREATE Health also provides assistance for students as they prepare to take entrance exams (i.e. MCAT, DAT, PCAT, GRE, etc.) in their prospective disciplines and assist during the application process to professional and graduate schools. During the summer institute, we help students expand their basic educational building blocks of math, science and language arts, as well as provide hands-on training and exposure of seven health careers: Medicine, Physician Assistant, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Advanced Practice Nursing, Behavioral Health, and Medical Research. During the school year, we provide students with tutoring, application preparation and pre-health professions counseling so that they are successful in their undergraduate career.

Colorado Rural Health Scholars Program

Website: CRHSP

This four-week residential program, started in 1992, is designed to provide rural high school students with experiences directly related to science and medicine. Special attention is given to students who are members of ethnic minority groups and to students with disadvantaged backgrounds. Participants attend classes with topics related to medicine and science and conduct work in laboratories and in seminar with speakers from all facets of the health professions. Current medical students are responsible for the program’s direction and serve as counselors.


CU-Denver Scholars Program


Website: CU Scholars

The University of Colorado at Denver (UCD), Downtown Denver Campus (DDC) Scholars Program is an early college enrollment program for college bound, high-achieving students in their senior year of high school. This program enables students to begin their college studies by enrolling in one course on the Downtown Denver Campus during the fall/spring semesters of their senior year. Credit earned in this course can be applied towards a bachelor’s degree at UCDHSC, DDC or another higher education institution of the student’s choice. Prior to and during their fall enrollment, Scholars and their parents must attend an orientation, admissions and financial aid workshops, and a series of seminars intended to have students acclimate to the university thus preparing them for full-time college study.

To participate students are required to meet the following admissions criteria; a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 at the time of application, completion of at least two years of mathematics (two years of algebra or one year of algebra and one year of geometry) with an average grade of B or better, completion of at least two years of science (including one year of laboratory science) with an average grade of B or better, completion of two years of English (one year must be composition), with an average grade of B or better, and willingness to participate in all of the Program's orientations and meetings prior to and during their enrollment.


CU Succeed Silver and Gold Programs & Early College Scholars

Websites: CU Succeed Silver & Gold

Succeed Gold: Courses are taught during regular school periods by high school faculty who have been granted adjunct faculty status as lecturers in a UCD academic department. Courses are the same as on-campus courses with respect to content, the quality and quantity of work required of students, and the methods used to evaluate the students’ performance. All courses are taken for a letter grade and appear on an official UCD transcript. Students pay tuition at the rate of $50 per credit.

CU-Succeed Silver: The CU Succeed Silver Program also offers juniors and seniors the opportunity to get a head start on college by earning college credit while still in high school. Courses are taught during regularly scheduled school periods or after school hours. These courses are taught as they are on campus by UCD full or part-time faculty and may also involve a cooperating teacher from the high school. High schools participating in the CU Succeed Silver Program are encouraged to make courses available to students with academic potential who are uncertain about continuing their education beyond high school. Credits earned in CU Succeed Silver courses appear on an official UCD transcript. Students pay tuition according to a financial arrangement between the program and the high schools and the cost of each course. Tuition ranges from $30 per credit to $67 per credit.


Denver Student Training in Research Science (STaRS) Program

Website: Denver STaRS

Contact: Christian Valtierra,

The Denver STaRS program provides positive exposure to the Anschutz Medical Campus for junior and senior high school students just beginning to explore career and education options in clinical translational sceince and biomedical fields. This year, the CCTSI Education, Training and Career Developement core has invited students from Denver's East High School, Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST), and the CEC Middle College of Denver for a series of lectures, training and mentoring oportunities designed to extend the pipeline and encourage applications to undergraduate, medical and graduate schools programs at the University of Colorado.  Currently, Denver STaRS works with students at Denver East High School and CEC Middle College of Denver.

Graduate Experiences for Multicultural Students

Website: GEMS

For students with an interest in careers in biomedical science research, the GEMS program enables them to spend typically between nine and ten weeks during the summer in a research laboratory on campus.  In addition to the intensive research experience, students participate in training sessions on ethics, how to put together an effective oral and written presentation, and how to apply to graduate school.  The program is funded through NIH/NHLBI.


Health Career Pre-Collegiate Program

Website: PCHCP


Located at the University of Colorado Denver-Downtown Campus, this academic enhancement program is designed to motivate first generation high school students to successfully complete a college preparatory high school curriculum and matriculate to the post-secondary institution of their choice.  The students that participate will have the necessary academic skills to succeed and graduate from the University or College they chose to attend. The primary goal of the Health Careers Pre-Collegiate Program is to adequately prepare 80 (120 at capacity by 2007) first-generation college students for a successful high school career and eventually a successful professional career.  Participants are exposed to specific areas of interest in the healthcare field, complemented with the essential academic advising of high school course selections (in cooperation with their parents and guidance counselors). In addition, during the academic year the students are offered Saturday Academies in basic study skills, academic skills enhancement, interpersonal skill development sessions, and health career options. Parents of participating students are also afforded workshops during the Saturday Academy sessions.  Topics for the parent workshops include effective parenting strategies and how to prepare financially for their child’s college education.  Students also participate in a summer program.  Sophomores attend a two-week summer program and juniors attend a five-week summer program in which they take courses in math, science and writing and are exposed to the rigor of college life.  The Health Careers Pre-Collegiate program currently serves 72 students. President’s Office provides funding.


Link to Advancement in Biomedical Research opportunity and Training Section (LAB COATS)

Contact: Dr. Adela Cota-Gomez,

Website: LAB COATS

LAB Coats is a pipeline program that involves students from UC Denver being assisted in developing cricial thinking and analytical skills, receive help in gatekeeper courses and then assign them to science labs where they are paid to work throughout the year.  The goal of the program is to support high-performing undergraduate students from diverse and traditionally underrepresented groups in the pursuit of a degree in science and to prepare them for research careers in the biomedical field.  The supports include providing supplemental instruction, science related enrichment activities, help with applications for graduate school, advanced hands-on training and intensive research experiences.  


Pre-Collegiate Development Program

Website: Pre-Collegiate Development Program

The Pre-Collegiate Development Program (PCDP), sponsored by the University of Colorado Denver- Downtown Denver Campus, is an institutionally funded academic enhancement program for high school students.  This program has been in existence on the Denver Campus since January of 1988.  The program's objective is to motivate and prepare first-generation students (grades 9 thru 12) who attend fourteen Denver-Metro area high schools, to successfully complete high school on a timely basis and possess the necessary skills, to successfully enter and graduate from their choice post-secondary institution.

The Pre-Collegiate Development Program is designed to increase the number of first-generation secondary students who aspire to attain a post-secondary education.  This is achieved by providing essential and timely academic advising, in cooperation with parents and high school guidance counselors, to assure a timely graduation and meet the students desired successful admission to their choice college/university. During the academic year students are provided with relevant Saturday Academies in such areas as: Basic Study Skills Mastery, College Entrance Exam Preparation, College Entrance, Exam Interpretation, Career Exploration, Financial Aid Workshop, Academic Enhancement, Leadership Skills and Student Communications Workshops.  Tutoring services are also provided on an ongoing basis throughout the academic year both at UCD-DDC and the student's high school. Students must maintain cumulative G.P.A. of 2.5 or better to continue participating in the program.  Also, at the beginning of each semester, each student's Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS) form is updated with all the courses that have been taken to ensure that the MAPS requirements are met. In addition, these students are provided with either a two-week (sophomores) or five-week (juniors) intense Summer Academic Program.  During this experience, students are exposed to various academic courses, which are designed to enhance and augment their college entry requirements (e.g., mathematics, writing, and the sciences) once they return to their host high school for either their junior or senior year.  Students and their parents are clearly informed that there is a major difference.  


Pre-Collegiate Middle School Academic Program


Website: Pre-Collegiate Middle School Academic Program

The Pre-Collegiate Middle School Academic Program (PCMSAP) is an academic enhancement program.  The program is designed to adequately prepare potential first-generation college students in grades seven to eight to successfully complete their pre-secondary school career, enroll in a college preparatory high school curriculum, and ultimately enroll to their choice college/university with the necessary skills and academic preparation to succeed at and graduate from that institution. The Pre-Collegiate Middle School Academic Program serves as a precursor to the Pre-Collegiate Development Program (high school).  Students who successfully complete the Pre-Collegiate Middle School Academic Program with a cumulative G.P.A. of 2.75 or better will then be admitted to the Pre-Collegiate Development Program at the end of their 8th grade year

During the academic year the students are provided relevant Saturday Academies in areas such as:  Basic Study Skills, Academic Skills Enhancement, leadership, and Interpersonal Skills Development.Parents of the participating students are offered relevant workshops during the Saturday Academy sessions which will include Effective Parenting Strategies,as well as strategies on how to prepare financially for their student’s college education. Tutoring services are also provided on an ongoing basis during the academic year at their middle school. The academic year Saturday Academies are designed to augment middle school curriculums (e.g., mathematics, writing, sciences, computer skills, etc.) and enhance parenting skills and strategies designed to more fully support their student. Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS) are introduced to our eighth graders so that when they are matriculating into high school they will know which classes and how many semesters of each class is needed to prevent deficiencies in a college/university.


Summer Institute for Health Careers. Colorado Area Health Education Center

Website: Summer Institute for Health Careers

SIHC is a 6 day program for high school students recruited from across the state of Colorado. Each regional AHEC Center (Greeley, Clifton, Alamosa, Pueblo and Denver) runs a weeklong program in their region. The students are then transported to Denver to continue the program at the Health Sciences Center. The capstone of the project is a shadowing experience with the health profession of their choice. The curriculum varies from year to year and region to region, but the main theme remains constant-an exploration of health careers that goes beyond the surface discussion.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program (SURF)


Website: Summer Research Fellowship


Since 1988, the Department of Pharmacology and former Alcohol Research Center (ARC) have recruited three to six underrepresented undergraduate students to carry out research with our faculty over a ten-week period during the summer. Since the inception of this program nearly 100 students have been recruited. This program provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to conduct research; present their results; attend seminars; and interact with fellow students, lab members, and faculty. Training in cellular and molecular pharmacology, signal transduction, neuro-pharmacology, biochemistry, and molecular structure, as well as opportunities in the blossoming field of bioinformatics, is available. Specific questions being researched focus on many areas including cancer biology, cell biology, alcohol and drugs of abuse, learning and memory, genomics, proteomics, lipid maps, and structural biology. A variety of state-of-the-art laboratory techniques including fluorescence microscopy, transgenics, gene chip arrays, NMR, mass spectrometry, computational pharmacology, and x-ray crystallography are used.


Student Cancer Research Fellowship Program

Website: Student Cancer Research Fellowship

Summer Cancer Fellowships provide numerous opportunities for advanced high school students, college undergraduates and medical school students who are interested in exploring careers in cancer research. Fellows perform research, attend twice-weekly lectures and participate in a poster session at the end of the fellowship. The program is supported in part by the University of Colorado Cancer Center, Cancer Center professors, and the Cancer League of Colorado. The 8 week fellowships pair students with preceptors from a variety of laboratories and clinics at the University of Colorado Denver, University of Colorado-Boulder campus, and other Denver area affiliate healthcare institutions. Minority students are urged to apply. Applications are available in mid-December and the deadline is February 1. Fellowships last from the first week of June until the first week of August.  


Undergraduate Pre-Health Program (UPP)

Website:  Undergraduate Pre-Health Program

Contact:  Medhat Ahmed,

University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus – Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Kaiser Permanente Colorado partner to provide summer internships for undergraduate students interested in pursuing careers related to healthcare. Students selected in this program must be first-generation, low-income and/or be underrepresented in the health professions.  They must also have 30 credit hours from an accredited undergraduate institution and a 3.3 GPA.  Participants spend 8-12 weeks on campus where they shadow medical professionals,  conduct research and participate in workshops on health disparities and cultural competence.  All participants are required to take one of the prep courses necessary to apply to medical, pharmacy, nuring dental or other health profession school. 


Upward Bound-Power Up Program


Website: Upward Bound-Power Up Program

The Upward Bound Power Up Program is a federally funded TRIO program.  It is an educational pre-college program for selected students from Sheridan and Jefferson High Schools.  Upward Bound's mission is to prepare and help motivate students with potential for success in post-secondary education.  Participants are selected based on their academic performance, motivations for success, recommendations from teachers and counselors and additional criteria. Upward Bound aims to provide program participants with the necessary skills needed to successfully graduate from high school and complete a 4-year college degree.  Students participate in after-school and weekend programs which include supplemental education, academic themed workshops, field trips and college campus tours.  Every student also participates in a 6-week summer program designed to prepare them for high school classes and the college application process. Additionally, all students participate in a shadowing program with current college students and working professionals in the Denver metro area.


© The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate. All rights reserved.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. All trademarks are registered property of the University. Used by permission only.