Summer Academic Workshop students socialize at Mills College.

Summer Academic Workshop

The Summer Academic Workshop (SAW) at Mills is a three-week residential program designed to equip first-year students who are the first in their family to attend college with the skills, resources, and networks of support to succeed in college and beyond. The support you receive during the summer is just the start of the ongoing guidance you'll receive as a Mills student. Most of our SAW graduates say that this program was one of the most meaningful and memorable parts of their education.

How Long is the Program?

The program takes place over three weeks in the late summer prior to the start of your first semester. You’ll study, live, and dine on the Mills campus so you get the full college experience. As a SAW student, you’ll also participate in a weekly SAW seminar during your entire first year at Mills with ongoing support and peer mentoring through graduation. Along the way, you'll form relationships that will last a lifetime!

How Many Students Can Participate?

Approximately 30 students participate in the Summer Academic Workshop each year. If you've been admitted to Mills and are a first-generation college student, you'll automatically be considered for the Summer Academic Workshop. Selection is determined by a committee based on student potential and ability to commit to the rigorous program.

What Will I Do?

Over the three weeks of your SAW program, we'll introduce you to college-level academic expectations and equip you to meet and exceed them. From how to study well to how to write a college paper, we'll demystify the experience for you. You'll meet professors and staff who will be important resources for your journey at Mills, and you'll begin building strong bonds with your peers. You'll join your SAW classmates in social events, from lunch with the President of Mills, to a networking brunch with our Mills Alumnae of Color Group. You'll also connect with students from other Mills summer bridge programs in combined labs and field trips exploring the SF Bay Area.

What Will I Learn?

SAW is structured to include academic courses and workshops on subjects that get you started on core curriculum requirements and provide you with a strong foundation across disciplines and topics, including:

  • Computer Science
  • English
  • Health Sciences
  • Race, Gender & Power 

Your work will count as four credits toward your degree—all before your fall semester begins!

You'll also enjoy interactive workshops in:

  • Career development
  • Resume writing
  • Time management
  • How to find a job
  • Planning for internships

What Does it Cost?

The cost of the Summer Academic Workshop is free to students who are invited to participate, including three weeks of housing with meals.

How Do I Participate?

You'll automatically be considered for SAW if you've been admitted to Mills and are a first-generation college student. If selected to join the program, you'll be invited to participate via email in the spring. You'll be able to sign up once you've submitted your non-refundable enrollment deposit.