Program Details

About the Bridge Year Program

A feature of The Bridge Year program is its cohort based educational experience. All of the student’s college courses taught at high school are taken with the same group (cohort) of students. These courses are taught by college approved high school teachers. In addition to their four college courses, Bridge Year students attend their regional CTE school where they participate in technical education in a field of their choice. They can take additional college courses outside of traditional high school time at the same reduced price.

The Bridge Year Program includes attendance at two Summer Career Academies to:

  • help build the cohort of students,
  • introduce students to living on a campus,
  • explore up-and-coming industries in Maine, and
  • develop an understanding of financing a college education with the least amount of debt.

Bridge Year students receive continued academic advising support for an additional 12-month period following a student’s senior year of high school.  Any University or Community College taken after the student’s high school graduation will be at full cost.

Our Students

Our students are committed to fully utilizing educational opportunities that come their way.  Typically, they are students who learn best through relevant, real life experiences, and who are willing to put forth extra effort. Their cohort experience helps develop the skills they will need in collaboration, and seeking out study groups and supports during their college experience. Bridge Year students will most likely not require remedial non-credit college courses. They will likely have greater success in their course work and a quicker and higher graduation rate from their post-secondary educational experience than is typical.

A few more details…

The Bridge Year Program presents an opportunity to assist high school students in:

  • Obtaining high quality career assessments, exploration, and additional advisement while in high school.
  • Assessing and improving academic readiness for post-secondary education courses
  • Obtaining an integrated technical skill-based education that ties academics to real world careers through integrated CTE based classes and labs.
  • Participating in multiple job shadowing experiences.
  • Obtaining 25+ college credits (at a cost of $40 per credit) by high school graduation through dual/concurrent enrollment. These credits will be transferable to all University of Maine System schools, all Maine Community College System schools, and may be transferable to other public and private in-state and out-of-state post-secondary institutions.
  • Completing an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science from EMCC within 12 months following high school graduation.
  • Completing a Bachelor’s Degree option in a University of Maine System school in less than 4 years.
  • Developing an understanding of college costs, how to navigate the financial aid office, and how to access supports such as tutoring centers and writing centers.

The following are some terms referred to in this program:

  • Associate’s Degree – A college degree that usually requires approximately 60 credit hours to complete or two years of full time study
  • Bachelor’s Degree – A college degree that usually requires approximately 120 credit hours to complete or four years of full time study
  • Cohort – A group of people, in this case Students going through an educational experience together
  • CTE – A Career and Technical high school such as UTC in Bangor
  • Dual or Concurrent Enrollment – Dual/concurrent enrollment allows a student to earn college credit prior to high school graduation by taking college level courses that are taught at the high school by high school instructors approved by the college for credit. The student, if he/she meets all the requirements (attendance, grades, and codes of conduct) simultaneously earns both secondary and college credit.

Some frequently asked questions:

How much does this program cost?

For the 2016/17 school year the cost is $40 per credit hour which means $120 for a standard 3-credit college course.  For eligible students, financial assistance is available.  Contact BYES for more information using the contacts listed under the tab “About BYES”.

How many college credits can I earn?

Students will have the opportunity to earn up to 26 or more  college credits by high school graduation. The student must receive a grade of C- or better to obtain University/College credit and generally a grade of at least a C for the grade to transfer and/or be accepted in many departments.

Where are these credits useful?

The concurrent credits are awarded by institutions in the University Maine System and the Maine Community College System, and are reported on standard University transcripts. College credits earned through the Bridge Year Program are accepted in the same manner as credits earned on campus. All UMS and MCCS campuses are fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; and as such,  courses are accepted by most post secondary colleges and universities around the nation. Each situation will be different for specific schools, and of course, specific programs. Check ahead of time with the schools you are thinking about attending and ask them about the transferability of credits.

What degree will a student EVENTUALLY earn?

This is up to the student and the institution and program where he/she pursues higher education education. (Students are expected to research different colleges and programs and determine how many will transfer.) For instance, students may choose to pursue a Bachelor’s degree at UMaine or another institution. Students may also decide to pursue an Associates degree or a Bachelor’s at The University of Maine Augusta or at a Maine Community College with the earned Bridge Year college credits. It is up to the student and parents/guardians to research individual future program compatibility. One way to do this is to request an analysis of college courses taken while in The Bridge Year from the colleges in which you are interested.  They can advise about which credits will be transferred into various programs.

How long does the program take?

Bridge Year students participate in the program while in their junior and senior high school years. The Bridge Year Program also provides continued advising to students during their 1st year of “on campus” higher education, either in person or electronically as the situation dictates and the student desires.

Where will I go to school?​

You will attend classes at different locations depending on the course and time of year. Most academic courses will be offered at the student’s high school and technical classes at the local participating CTE school. Some additional classes may be on-line or on UMS and MCCS campuses.

What academic and other qualifications will I need to apply successfully?

A student wishing to join The Bridge Year Program will need to complete the admissions packet and be in good standing with their high school. The Bridge Year admission committee will review each applicant as recommended by the sending high school to see if they are a good match for the program.

What will my UMaine and UMA student status be?

Students accepted into The Bridge Year Program will receive some of the privileges of the UMS or MCCS campus that sponsors their courses.  These privileges may include: university identification card(s), Library access, a university e-mail address and use of some recreational resources on the campuses sponsoring your courses.

What schools will be participating next year?

For 2014/15 Bangor High School,Brewer High School, Hampden Academy and Hermon High school will participate in Region 4, Medomak Valley High School in Region 8, Houlton High School in Region 2, Waterville High School with Mid Maine Tech and Ellsworth, MDI, Summer and Bucksport High School with Hancock County Tech. will join the program with operational cohorts.

Sanford Regional, Lewiston Regional, Tri County Tech, Skowhegan Tech, Portland Arts and Tech, Farmington Tech. and Region 3 are in the planning phase for 2015/16

When do I apply?

Most schools ask for student applications from sophomores in March for the following September courses.