Triton Prep Program


Triton Prep is a pilot 10-week, community-based, pre-matriculation program for incoming freshmen that was initiated in summer 2017. The summer before students' freshman year, they took classes at Malcolm X Library and the Jacobs Center in Southeast San Diego (Diamond District), allowing students to live at home while taking classes. The summer program focused on four integrated student success areas that included: mathematics, literacy and communication, student life preparation, and parent engagement. The pre-matriculation component of the program provided incoming freshmen with the key resources, including Supplemental Instruction and tutoring, needed to succeed at UC San Diego with an emphasis on serving at risk student populations.

 Students were required to enroll in 2 courses: 

  1. Math Course
    • Math 2: Introduction to College Mathematics (4 units) or
    • Math 3C: Precalculus (4 units) 
  2. Literacy and Communication Course: LTWR 4 Language and Learning in the American Academy (4 units) (required for all students)

Coursework was supported through Supplemental Instruction math tutoring and writing tutoring. 

The pilot program continued beyond the initial summer program. The 2017-18 academic year support includes the following through the efforts of the Triton Achievement Partners:

  • Encourage Students’ Engagement
    • Triton Achievement Partners, in collaboration with academic departments, residence life staff, student government associations, campus organizations, etc., will conduct small group meetings and deliver programs such as metacognition-based learning strategy and exam preparation workshops, and will co-sponsor programs and activities conducted by other campus units (e.g., a health and wellness discussions presented by CAPs).
  • Engage students in purposeful intervention strategies
    • Triton Achievement Partners will utilize the knowledge of the phases of student development during the first year of college to understand and meet students where they are and help them to develop more fully as a college students and as individuals.
  • Facilitate connections between first-year students and the university community
    • Triton Achievement Partners, through the existing First Generation Faculty Initiative, will organize informal meetings between first-generation faculty and Triton Prep students.
  • Introduce life skills integral to college success
    • Triton Achievement Partners will – in partnership with CAPS, community centers, and other campus partners – co-sponsor activities to teach life skills, such as stress-reduction and time management strategies, as well as to increase a sense of belonging.
  • Enable students to develop their social and cultural capital
    • Triton Achievement Partners will introduce students to academic resources and contacts and will engage students in how to take advantage of those resources.
    • Triton Achievement Partners will assist first-year students in understanding and making sense of the university’s cultures, including confronting, integrating, or adopting its values.

Data is being collected and analyzed to measure the effectiveness of this pilot program and to determine next steps.



Description of Program

Triton Prep Program

Triton Prep is a free, 10-week summer program that provides incoming first-year students from Gompers, Lincoln, Morse, and Preuss High Schools an opportunity to obtain university credit, develop success skills, and build community while still living at home. It runs from July 3 – September 9, 2017 at Malcolm X Library.

Program emphases are on math, literacy, and communication skills; student university life preparation; and parent engagement.

The program offers the following:

  1. Math Course; 4-credits general education university credit
    1.  Students will enroll in Math 2 Introduction to College Mathematics or Math 3C Precalculus based on the results of their Math Placement Exam (MPE) score
      1. 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 multi-modality 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. Placement determined by Math Placement Exam.
      2. 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. Prerequisites: Math Placement Exam qualifying score.
  2. LTWR 4: Language and Learning in the American Academy; 4-credits university credit
    1. Introduction to college-level critical thinking, reading, writing, speaking, and listening practices that will help students succeed at UCSD.
      1. We will learn to ask important questions effectively.
      2. We will read what some important thinkers and scholars have to say about success—how to define it and how to achieve it.
      3. We will write to connect what we know and believe to ideas that we read about and study.
  3. Academic Support
    1. Tutoring for courses
    2. Study skills and strategies for academic learning for success at a college level.
    3. Supplemental Instruction (SI) study groups led by highly-trained UCSD students to work on problem-solving skills and develop learning strategies for college-level math.
  4. Organized visits to UCSD campus
  5. Parent and Family Programs
    1. Opportunities for parents and families to learn more about the university, process of attending the university, and campus network of support for students and their families.

Requirements and Placement

Requirements and Placement

1. Students are selected based on their Math Placement Exam (MPE) scores.

2. Students must submit their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) to UCSD for Fall 2017.

3. Students must apply to the Triton Prep Program online at by June 15, 2017.

Academic Support

Students will have some of the best teachers in the Math Department and Literature Department for professors, but also have considerable additional content help from Supplemental Instruction Leaders and Tutors outside the classroom. SI Leaders engage students in collaborative learning sessions to support deeper understanding and success in the content of mathematics. Tutors also help support students academically by working through content in small peer groups for mathematics and writing. The 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.


At Malcolm X Library, Triton Prep offers this first mathematics and writing course in a small class environment (30-40 students) as opposed to the large lecture environment that is common in math/writing courses during fall. These classes emphasize conceptual understanding which prepare students to be successful in subsequent courses in the calculus sequence and other writing courses. In addition, academic support for the math and writing courses is provided by Supplemental Instruction (only math) and Tutoring. Students enrolled in Triton Prep have higher access to completing lower division math and writing prerequisites which makes it easier to complete the requirements of their major in four years. 



Why should I take courses in the summer?

There are two basic reasons why you should take courses during the summer. The first is that Triton Prep will bridge the transition from high school level mathematics/writing taught to mathematics/writing taught at the college level in the following three ways: 1) You will receive specifically targeted, high-level support for the Triton Prep courses; 2) The course sizes will be small, approximately 30-40 students per class; and 3) The specific support for your courses are facilitated by highly trained undergraduate Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leaders with an approximate ratio of one SI Leader for each 10 students along with math/writing content tutors. Pre-calculus, calculus, and writing courses taught during the regular school year are much larger. Typically lecture sizes in calculus range from 200 to 400. Moreover, you will get some of the best teachers on campus.

Second, taking these courses during the summer will help with your time to degree as many majors on campus have math requirements. Language and Learning develops writing skills to successfully complete your university-level writing courses. 


When can I apply to the Triton Prep Program?

Applications open May 1, 2017 and closes June 15, 2017. Space is limited and application will be considered during the open application timeline on a rolling basis. 

Where can I apply to the Triton Prep Program? 

You can apply online. The link to the application can be found HERE -

Many of my peers received an invitation email to apply for the Triton Prep Program, but I did not. Can I still apply? 

The program is open to all incoming freshmen to UC San Diego from Gompers Preparatory Academy, Morse High School, Lincoln High School, and Preuss School living in the Diamond District (Southeast San Diego).

My friends did not receive an invitation email to apply for the Triton Prep Program. Why did I receive an invitation email?

All incoming freshman to UC San Diego from Gompers Preparatory Academy, Morse High School, Lincoln High School, and Preuss School living in the Diamond District (Southeast San Diego) are eligible to apply. An invitation is not required as part of the application. 

Entry Exams

When is the Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE) and do I need to take the AWPE for the Triton Prep Program?

The exam is administered in May by the UC system, not by UCSD. The UC system requires that the students take this exam before they begin in the fall if they have not cleared the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR) some other way. Students can get a waiver for the fee if they received a waiver for the UC application fee.

Triton Prep is prepared to work with all students—ones who pass the AWPE and ones that have not. There is no writing placement exam or requirement for the Triton Prep Program, but students who plan to attend UCSD and have not cleared the ELWR another way (AP, SAT, ACT) have to take the AWPE before September. 

More information is on

When is the Math Placement Exam (MPE) and do I need to take the MPE for the Triton Prep Program? Pulled information from the math testing site below.

The exam is administered in May by the UC system, not by UCSD. The UC system requires that the students take this exam before they begin course work in mathematics except if they have met the MPE requirement by other means - click here to see if you meet this requirement already. 

Triton Prep is prepared to work with all students—ones who pass the MPE and ones that have not. There is no need to take the math placement exam if you are intending to enroll in Math 2.  The MPE is required if you are intending to enroll in Math 3C and have not yet met the placement requirement.

More information is on

Why am I required to take the MPE?

The MPE has been shown to be the best measure to predict student success in freshmen entry-level courses offered at UCSD.  The MPE provides diagnostic feedback to both students and faculty.  For students enrolling in Triton Prep, results from the MPE are used to:

  • Determine appropriate placement in their Triton Prep course
  • Identify topics of review which benefit student understanding of their current readiness for their math course
  • Provide diagnostic information to the math Faculty and SI Leaders to inform their course planning and to the program developers who create and implement appropriate intervention and differentiation strategies to support students’ success in math

For students not enrolling in Triton Prep, results are used to:

  • Provide early placement information to students of their preparation and readiness for UCSD freshmen math courses
  • Assist students in planning for their fall math courses
  • Identify topics that students may review prior to fall enrollment

How do I take the MPE?

The MPE is a proctored online test that can be taken at UCSD or at home.  Exams offered on campus at UCSD are free.  If you elect to take the MPE at home, it is proctored through an online service called ProctorU for a fee of $20.  Students using ProctorU must use a computer with a webcam and audio and use a valid credit card for payment. 

To register for the MPE (on campus and ProctorU), please visit the Math Testing and Placement website (

Walk-ins for exams proctored at UCSD are NOT allowed.  Students taking exams at home through ProctorU will select an exam date that works best for their schedules through ProctorU.

How do I prepare for the MPE?

There are two ways to prepare for the MPE.  First, the Math Testing and Placement department recommends all student take an online readiness test that models the MPE prior to taking the actual MPE.  Topics on the MPE include:

  • Rational Expressions
  • Exponents and Radicals
  • Linear Equations and Inequalities
  • Polynomials and Polynomial Equations
  • Functions
  • Trigonometry
  • Logarithmic and Exponential Functions 

Second, students may engage in self-study prior to taking the MPE.  Recommended refresher books include:

  • Just-In-Time Algebra and Trigonometryby Mueller & Brent. Addison-Wesley ISBN 0-201-41951-3 (for Math 4C/20A)
  • Schaum's Outline of College Algebra by Spiegel. McGraw Hill ISBN 0-07-060266-2 (for Math 3C/10A)
  • Schaum's Outline of Precalculus by Fred Safier. McGraw Hill ISBN 0-07-057261-5 (for Math 4C/20A) 

How will I receive my MPE results?

All student results are posted by noon of the following work-day.  Students access their results online through the Math Testing and Placement website ( Students receive an individual report online that includes placement level and a list of topics that should be reviewed before the class begins.

If you are placed into a lower math course than desired, you are strongly encouraged to engage in serious review of the suggested topics before attempting the MPE again. Students may retake the MPE after waiting at least one month.

Cost and Financial Aid

How much is the cost of the Triton Prep Program?

Once you are accepted into the Triton Prep Program, costs for course tuition and other campus-based fees are paid for by the program.


Where will I be living in the summer?

Triton Prep Program does not provide housing to its participants. Students will be providing their own housing for the time that they will be participating in the program; many students will be living with their families throughout the duration of the program. 

Course Enrollment

Do I need to enroll in both courses stated above or can I choose different courses?

Students in the Triton Prep Program are obligated to enroll in either Math 2 or Math 3C and LTWR 4 in order to participate in the program. 

Apply now!

Apply Now! Steps for applying to the Common Application:

  • Sign on as a Student SSO using your: Single Sign-On User ID/PID and password
  • Once you log in, you will be directed to the Common Application Dashboard, where you will see a list of Summer Success Programs that are available to you. Click on Triton Prep to begin the application process, which includes essay question(s) created by the program leader(s). 

Questions? Contact Us!

For more information about the Triton Prep Program (Summer Success Program 2017):

Phone: (858) 534 -5358