I’m First, Opportunity Knocks

For students who don’t have a family history of higher education, college is your opportunity to discover what you want to make of yourself!

I’m First‘s Opportunity Knocks newsletter features campus programs and opportunities for first-generation college students. This New Year edition highlights Pre-College Summer Experience opportunities at 13 of our College Partners.

Visit I’m First to join our community and discover your college opportunity!


Boston University
Boston, MA
Summer Pathways
Summer Pathways is a one-week, residential summer program for female high school students who demonstrate promise in the fields of science and engineering. The Summer Pathways program is free of charge and seeks students from Boston public high schools who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a summer enrichment program. Read more

Central Connecticut State University
New Britain, CT
Collegiate Awareness and Preparation Program (ConnCAP)
The Collegiate Awareness and Preparation Program was designed to increase the number of graduating high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds and prepare them for success in college. ConnCAP consists of a challenging six-week summer academic instruction held on CCSU’s campus. Now in its second decade, Central Connecticut State University’s ConnCAP Program is one of the oldest and largest in the state. Read more

Columbia College Chicago
Chicago, IL
High School Summer Institute
Students who have completed at least their sophomore year of high school are eligible to participate in the High School Summer Institute, a five-week program geared toward students with an interest in the visual, media, performing, and communications arts. Participants not only get to work in Columbia’s state-of-the-art labs, studios, concert halls, and theaters, but also receive training from the same professionals and scholars who teach at Columbia year round. Read more

Indiana University Bloomington
Bloomington, IN
Junior Executive Institute
The Junior Executive Institute (JEI) is designed specifically for high school students from historically underrepresented groups, namely students who identify as African-American, Latino/Hispanic, or American Indian/Native American. Students attend workshops led by top-notch faculty, prepare a business project, meet with current students, and build strong social bonds through team-building activities and social events. Read more

Mount Aloysius College
Cresson, PA
Mount Aloysius Academic Preparation Program (MAAPP)
For first semester freshmen to assist them in making sure they are academically prepared for college, the MAAPP program is a residential early entrance and transition week program aimed at easing the transition from high school to college, thereby increasing a student’s chance for being successful at Mount Aloysius College. Read more

Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL
Upward Bound Program
The Upward Bound (UB) Program, in existence at Northern Illinois University since 1966, serves 95 high school students from Aurora and Rockford. To participate in the program participants must come from either low-income families or have parents who have not completed a bachelor’s degree. The program offers instruction in English, mathematics, science and foreign language; tutoring, academic and cultural enrichment activities, career exploration, financial aid advisement and support services designed to assist students as they prepare for entry into and ultimately graduate from college. Read more

Pitzer College
Claremont, CA
Keck Summer Science Immersion Program
Hosted by the W. M. Keck Science Department and funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the program is intended for incoming students who are first generation college students; from groups traditionally underrepresented in science; or from under-resourced high schools. The program introduces students to the expectations and demands of college-level science coursework. Cutting-edge science and building habits critical to academic success in the sciences is the focus. Read more

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
New York, NY
Summer High School STEM Program
The Summer STEM Program is an intensive, six-week experience that immerses students in hands-on engineering design and problem solving, placing them right on track for careers in technological innovation. Students work closely with Cooper Union faculty at the forefront of engineering education. Projects range broadly and include robotics, digital fabrication, computer programming and app development, biomedical and genetic engineering, improved urban infrastructure, and even racecar design. Read more

Union University
Jackson, TN
Rising High School Senior Program
Union University offers a Rising High School Senior Program to high school students who have already completed their junior year. This program offers academic classes at a discounted rate. In addition, the student life team provides leadership, career counseling and service opportunities for students involved in this program. The Rising High School Senior program helps minority and first-generation students achieve early success in college. Read more

United States Air Force Academy
USAF Academy, CO
Summer Seminar
The Academy’s Summer Seminar allows high-performing high school students to spend one week here at the conclusion of their junior year. In addition to living on the Academy’s campus, Summer Seminar features a week filled with academic workshops (of the students’ choice) and some intramural sports. Moreover, this experience allows students to take a Candidate Fitness Assessment, get some brief drill and ceremony exposure, attend a few informational admissions meetings and go through the “doolie for a day” program. Read more

University of Florida
Gainesville, FL
Health Care Summer Institute
The Office for Diversity and Health Equity and the University of Florida Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) co-sponsor a 4-week summer camp for minority high school students with career interests in health professions who live within the University of Florida AHEC service areas listed below. Participants shadow several health care professions and attend workshops on study skills and test taking, including a preparatory course fot the SAT. Read more

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Pre-Freshman Program (PFP) and Pennsylvania College Achievement Program (PENNCAP)
The Pre-Freshman Program, a four-week long summer academic experience, helps students become acclimated to the university. Through PENNCAP, academically talented students, many from under resourced backgrounds, receive coaching, counseling, academic support and assistance in identifying personal priorities, clarifying career objectives and developing a financial plan. Read more

Whitman College
Walla Walla, WA
Whitman Institute for Summer Enrichment (WISE)
WISE is an all-expenses-paid, pre-college program for local middle school students who show academic promise and are from first-generation, minority or low-income families. WISE aims to generate interest in pursuing a college education for these students, who stay on campus for three days and two nights, attend classes taught by Whitman professors and take college prep workshops. These students also interact with current students, who are their Resident Assistants and mentors. Read more