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Triton Freshman Scholars Program

Triton Freshman Scholars is a transition program that begins with an 8-week residential component during the summer preceding students' entrance to UC San Diego and continues through their first year on campus. Students take their first math and writing courses in a small class environment with academic support (Supplemental Instruction, math tutoring, and writing tutoring) provided by the Academic Achievement Hub and the Analytical Writing ProgramThese classes emphasize conceptual understanding which prepares students to be successful in subsequent courses.

During the 8-week program, students live on campus while earning 8 units of college credit,  honing their quantitative and critical reading and writing skills, getting to know the UC San Diego campus and resources, and building community with fellow participants. Susan Rinaldi, Director of the Academic Achievement Hub, states, "The Triton Freshman Scholars program will challenge you, give you more confidence, provide you with knowledge about the campus, and help you feel at home at UC San Diego."

For more information, please refer to the FAQs.

Please view the tentative schedule here.

Application Requirements and Placement


Student acceptance to and placement in the program are based on:

1. Math Placement Exam (MPE) scores, AP/IB or SAT scores. Only students who place into one of the five math courses offered through the Triton Freshman Scholars Program will be accepted. Please see the diagram above for math course placement and subsequent sequence for specific majors.

More information can be found in the FAQ portion of this site.

2. Accept your UC San Diego Offer of Admission by May 1 and pay enrollment deposit (if required) by the deadline.

3. Students must apply online at through the Summer Success Programs Common Application by the deadline of May 15. 

Program Components

Opportunity to Build Community

Students will participate in activities that promote getting to know campus and to build community with other incoming, first-year students in a fun, low-stress environment so they can start the fall academic term with a strong network of support. Activities include:

  • Campus Scavenger Hunt
  • Challenge Course
  • Independence Day Block Party
  • Birch Aquarium Field Trip
  • Backyard Boogie
  • Culture Night
  • Therapy Fluffies
  • Pool Day
  • Karaoke/Game Night
  • Knowledge Bowl
  • Movie Night
  • Dance

Opportunity to Discover Student Resources

Students will be introduced to many campus resources during this summer residential program. These include: 

  • Academic Support - UC San Diego is committed to student academic success and has built a network of resources to ensure you achieve your academic goals. 
  • Triton Sophomore Scholars Panel - Hear from former Triton Freshman Scholars who are now sophomores. What was their first year at UCSD like? What helped them be successful? They'll answer these questions and more! 
  • Faculty Panel - Meet UCSD faculty and find out what their expectations of students are. They'll impart invaluable advice during this session.
  • Career Development Center - Meet career services advisors who can help you determine what careers would be best for you - and what you need to do to be successful in them. 
  • Student Organizations Resource Fair - UC San Diego isn't just about academics. Meet representatives from many of UCSD's student organizations. Get involved! 
  • Student Wellness - Feel good, get fit, be safe, and find resources for healthy, balanced living.
  • The ZoneUC San Diego's lounge for student health and well-being provides free wellness programs that promote healthy living, personal development, and well-being resources, and serves as a space for students to relax, de-stress, and make social connections.

Program Course Descriptions

Required Course for All Program Participants:

AWP 10: Language and Learning in the American Academy  (4 units; approved course, satisfying the UCSD Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion course requirement)

Inquiry is an important part of academic work and is central to the academic culture at UC San Diego. Good writing at the university level depends on inquiry—and thus a strong understanding of how knowledge is generated, how evidence is used, and how conclusions are drawn.

Even as this course explores the university’s expectations and practices, it will also consider how these expectations challenge different students in different ways. Despite its interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion, the university can sometimes be a homogenizing force that requires students to conform to its ideas of success rather than allowing students to articulate their own standards. Several questions arise. As it develops its standards for success, does the university sufficiently accommodate different languages, learning styles, educational histories, and cultural backgrounds? Does its definition of success fully consider differences in students’ racial, gender, and socio-economic identities? Or does the university ask students to “flatten” what makes them different in order to succeed? And if the latter, should students assimilate? Should they resist? Or should they work to change the university’s standards and practices? How?

To address these questions, students will read and write extensively about education and success. The readings will draw from authors who explore how their racial, socio-economic, and linguistic identities informed their educational experiences. Some of the authors whom students will be reading are members of groups who are well represented at American universities; others are members of groups who are traditionally under-represented; still, others come from entirely different cultures. The reading and writing assignments will be carefully scaffolded to help you understand your own cultural and linguistic identity and to critique your relationship to the dominant narratives of success that inform university standards and practices.

One of the Following Math Courses for Program Particpants (Determined by UC San Diego Math Course Placement Criteria): 

Math 2: Introduction to College Mathematics (4 units)

A highly adaptive course designed to build on students’ strengths while increasing overall mathematical understanding and skill. This multimodality course will focus on several topics of study designed to develop conceptual understanding and mathematical relevance: linear relationships; exponents and polynomials; rational expressions and equations; models of quadratic and polynomial functions and radical equations; exponential and logarithmic functions; and geometry and trigonometry. Workload credit only—not for baccalaureate credit. 

Math 3C: Precalculus (4 units)

Functions and their graphs. Linear and polynomial functions, zeroes, inverse functions, exponential and logarithmic, trigonometric functions and their inverses. Emphasis on understanding algebraic, numerical and graphical approaches making use of graphing calculators. (No credit given if taken after MATH 4C, 1A/10A, or 2A/20A.) Three or more years of high school mathematics or equivalent recommended.

Math 4C: Precalculus for Science and Engineering (4 units)

Review of polynomials. Graphing functions and relations: graphing rational functions, effects of linear changes of coordinates. Circular functions and right triangle trigonometry. Reinforcement of function concept: exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions. Vectors. Conic sections. Polar coordinates. (No credit given if taken after MATH 1A/10A or 2A/20A. Two units of credit given if taken after MATH 3C.) 

Math 10A: Calculus I (4 units)

Differential calculus of functions of one variable, with applications. Functions, graphs, continuity, limits, derivatives, tangent lines, optimization problems. (No credit given if taken after or concurrent with MATH 20A.) 

Math 20A: Calculus I for Science and Engineering (4 units)

Foundations of differential and integral calculus of one variable. Functions, graphs, continuity, limits, derivative, tangent line. Applications with algebraic, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions. Introduction to the integral. (Two credits given if taken after MATH 1A/10A and no credit given if taken after MATH 1B/10B or MATH 1C/10C. Formerly numbered MATH 2A.)

Academic Support During Summer Residential

  • Accessible Instructors who have committed to being available to students in the Summer Success Programs. 
  • Small class sizes of  20-30 students vs 200-400 students for some introductory-level courses.
  • Peer Mentors who will help you build social, academic, and institutional knowledge.
  • Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leaders, who are undergraduate students themselves, will facilitate group study sessions for your lower division math courses at UC San Diego (Internationally certified program). 
  • Content Tutors - Meet with a peer tutor during drop-in hours for individual help with math content. 
  • Writing Tutors are available to assist you with your AWP10 course during your summer residential.
  • Learning Strategies Tutors - Through workshops and one-on-one appointments, Learning Strategies Tutors will teach you to maximize your time with the most efficient study skills, so you can still have a social life!