Summer Bridge helps new CAC students span chasm of first-year college fears

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. – Summer camp may be a thing of the past for most students, but heading off to college starts early at Central Arizona College’s Summer Bridge program, the only five-day residential college orientation in Arizona offered to eligible participants at no cost. 

Summer Bridge will take place Aug. 11-15 and a limited number of spots are still available. 

Established in 2001, Summer Bridge at Central Arizona College has provided students an engaging and exciting college orientation for more than 10 years. 

During the program, held at CAC’s Signal Peak Campus, students will receive an in-depth orientation to college that is designed to help them start the semester on solid footing. Family members are invited to a parent orientation during the first day of the program, but the rest of the week offers students the taste of college life away from home. 

Participants will have a jam-packed schedule of workshops, discussions and activities designed to alleviate the fears faced by new college students - study skills, time management, financial literacy, wellness and nutrition, and even yoga.  

Recent high school graduates, beginning with the class of 2011 and including GED recipients, are encouraged to apply. Certain eligibility requirements are based on federal guidelines. 

Among the benefits for students who attend TRIO Summer Bridge is the peer mentor program. Students are assigned a peer mentor and are encouraged to meet with their mentor as often as necessary throughout the fall semester while they adjust to college life. 

“Students benefit from advice from other students who have successfully made the transition to the college environment,” Sherrie Soria, CAC’s TRIO coordinator, explained. “Peer mentors can help with any issue and assist students in navigating the world of higher education.” 

Other benefits of being enrolled as a TRIO student include: 

  • Individualized advising and academic and social support to make college completion a reality
  • Exciting trips throughout the semester
  • Visits to all universities throughout the state of Arizona
  • TRIO-exclusive tutoring for all participants
  • Application fee waivers for all in-state universities upon transfer
  • Free copying, faxing, and use of laptops and iPads in TRIO office.  

Rudy Basaldua, a first- and second-grade, multi-age teacher and special education director for the Paloma Elementary School District in Gila Bend, is a former CAC TRIO student who took advantage of everything the program offers on his way to successful academic and professional careers. 

“TRIO introduced me to all of the academic and college resources that CAC provides,” Basaldua said. “Prior to TRIO, I had no idea certain services existed. In this way, I really felt embraced by the college and I feel like it gives you an upper hand.” 

Students interested in Summer Bridge should log on to to download or submit an application. Applications also may be obtained in the Student Services Building (M) on the CAC Signal Peak Campus. 

TRIO Summer Bridge is jointly-funded by Central Arizona College and a five-year, $1.15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.  

For more information on TRIO and the Summer Bridge program, please contact Sherrie Soria (520-494-5060/ or log on to or

Central Arizona College - District Office 8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge, AZ 85128 Phone: 800-237-9814