Challenge 2024 Dates: Saturday, June 8 – Wednesday, July 10

Challenge is an intensive and exciting four-week summer bridge program that prepares select incoming first-year students for the academic rigors of Colorado School of Mines. Generously funded by our corporate partners, all costs for the four-week Challenge Program are free to students, including room and board, textbooks, class materials, and transportation to off-campus activities. The program is designed to give you a head start toward a successful college experience, and the opportunity to begin building community with other students, faculty, and staff.

Challenge students engage in daily classes, workshops, and activities during the four-week program. You will take Mathematics 100 (Pre-Calculus) and Chemistry 111 (Intro to Chemistry), as well as weekly Engineering Design labs and skill-building workshops from departments across the Mines campus. These courses and workshops introduce you to a variety of campus resources, the science of learning, test preparation, stress management, time management, financial aid services, career planning, and other tools to aid in your success at Mines. You will also have the opportunity to participate in team-building activities and a service outreach project designed to help build community and social awareness. Challenge students must successfully complete all of the program requirements to be fully admitted to Mines and matriculate to the fall semester.

Eligibility for the Challenge Program


Challenge is a summer bridge program accessible to students through an exclusive invite from the Colorado School of Mines Admissions team and the Multicultural Engineering Program department. Our teams review the following criteria when determining which incoming students to invite:

  • Incoming freshman to Colorado School of Mines
  • Students with diverse identities typically underrepresented in STEM, including those who identify as first-generation to college and/or female
  • High school coursework, GPA, ACT/SAT scores, and other academic factors that determine a student may benefit from a preview of Calculus I and Chemistry I

If you wish to be a part of the Challenge program but did not receive an invite, you may contact and a member from our review team will reach out with more information.

Challenge Courses and Skill-Building Workshops

See the Challenge 2023 schedule here! 


Courses below are designed to lay a foundation in Calculus and Chemistry for Challenge students while providing a preview to content in the fall semester. You will also receive the benefit of experiencing the rigor of Mines coursework in an environment where you are supported through smaller class-sizes and personalized tutoring for each class.

  • MATH 100 (Pre-Calculus): With combined instruction in both Pre-Calculus and Calculus I concepts, you will build foundational skills specific to the Calculus I course at Mines required for fall semester. This course serves as a preparatory course for the Calculus curriculum and includes material from Algebra, Trigonometry, Mathematical Analysis, and Calculus. Topics include basic algebra and equation solving, solutions of inequalities, trigonometric functions and identities, functions of a single variable, continuity, and limits of functions. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.
  • CHEM 111 (Intro to Chemistry): You will review foundational Chemistry concepts specific to Chemistry I at Mines. Topics include elementary atomic structure and the periodic chart, chemical bonding, chemical reactions and stoichiometry of chemical reactions, chemical equilibrium, thermochemistry, and properties of gases. 3 hours lecture and 3 hours lab; 3 semester hours.
  • User Centered Design: This course serves as an engineering lab where you will work on a group project focused on solving a larger design issue. A unique theme is chosen each year and you will come up with a design to solve a larger problem, work with community and/or industry stakeholders on your solution, and present your project at the end of the program. You will become familiar with the overall engineering design process, be supported through problem solving methods, and develop skills specific to serving on a larger engineering team.

Note: While courses and course grades will appear on official Colorado School of Mines transcripts, courses do not apply toward an undergraduate degree, nor do they count towards your overall college GPA.


Workshops and department presentations are designed to provide students with general information specific to the college experience and make personal introductions to staff around campus who can support their college journey. By building personal connections with staff, Challenge students grow their support network on campus prior to fall semester.

  • Skill-Development with CASA: There is a whole team of advisors to support your academic journey at Mines, and you will meet many of them throughout the CASA workshops. Workshops throughout the summer will focus on defining values, goal-setting, imposter syndrome, growth mindset, time-management, study and test-taking skills, meeting Mines faculty, and meeting your academic advisor.
  • Financial Aid: Meet Financial Aid staff and learn about key financial aid processes and scholarships. Ask questions about financing your degree at Mines, and receive assistance in applying to available MEP scholarships.
  • Housing: Meet with Residence Life to learn about dorm life and can ask any questions about living/dining at Mines.
  • Student Wellness Center: Meet Wellness Center staff, learn stress-relief tools, and discover ways to bounce back from academic and personal failure. If you feel stressed at Mines, you are not alone, and there is a whole team here to support your personal wellness!
  • Undergraduate Research: Meet undergraduate research staff, learn about research opportunities at Mines, and meet other students currently doing research both on and off-campus. Did you know research opportunities are usually paid and look just as good on your resume as an internship does?
  • Honors Program: Meet Honors program staff and learn about the programs available to you throughout your time at Mines. Honors students have opportunities to learn about the social sciences relevant to engineering, travel internationally, and earn a special minor from Mines. Spoiler, being an honors student is not just for the top performers!
  • Career Services: Career Services offers much more than just resume building and hooking you up with an internship! Meet Career Center staff, map out a vision board for your future career, and meet with Industry Partners to learn what a day in the life of an engineer looks like.
Benefits to Joining Challenge

There are many reasons to join Challenge! To name a few:

  • Experience life as a Mines student before fall semester! Challenge is designed to give you a sneak preview into college life at Mines before you start fall semester as an incoming freshman. You will experience what it is like to take classes at Mines, you will meet departments from around campus to learn about their services, and you will also start to build foundational skills in goal-setting, time-management, test-taking, growth mindset, imposter syndrome, and more.
  • Meet friends and build a community! You will be a part of a close-knit cohort where you will build a community of friends and peers who support and motivate each other throughout the program, and many of whom have grown friendships that last beyond college graduation.
  • Personal connections to mentors and tutors! Meet mentors and tutors who can help with your classes and also share insight to Mines! They will share the ins and outs of college, tools they used to be successful in college, and what their experiences have been like thus far in their degree programs.
  • Challenge is free to you! Through the Multicultural Engineering Program and generous donations from our supporters, the entire Challenge program is free to you! Over the summer, we will cover the cost for tuition/fees, housing, food, textbooks, and activities.
  • Scholarships for Challenge students! You will have access to exclusive scholarships specifically for students who complete the Challenge program (must fill out the general scholarship application and answer additional questions for MEP – go to, search for the financial aid scholarship portal, and complete the general application).
General Questions and Answers


  • What are the dates for Challenge 2024?
    • The dates for Challenge 2024 is Saturday, June 8 – Wednesday, July 10. 
  • Why was I selected for this program?
    • Student applications are reviewed by the admissions team and the Multicultural Engineering Program. We identify students with high school coursework, GPAs, ACT/SAT scores, AP scores, and other criteria who may benefit from a preview into Mines’ Calculus and Chemistry curriculum, then extend the offer to take part in the Challenge program. Students may also identify as those from underrepresented backgrounds in STEM, including those who are first-generation, and/or female. In some cases, students may also be offered a spot in Challenge from the Mines admission waitlist. Our goal is to offer a soft transition into college life to those who are selected for the program and equip them with the academic tools necessary to be successful at Mines going into freshman year. Similarly, one of the best parts of the Challenge program is meeting other incoming students, staff from departments around campus, and faculty who you may take courses with in the fall. Many studies show that both the academic and community support students gain from a bridge program put them in the very best position to be successful in their long-term academic and professional goals.
  • Where will I be living during the program, can I commute to campus, and is food provided?
    • Challenge is a residential program meaning that all student participants are expected to live on campus throughout the program. Students will live in on-campus dorms shared with other Challenge students and have access to restroom facilities, full kitchens, study areas, and hang out spaces. Living with other Challenge students, as well as current Mines students and tutors, is a great way to find mentors and make long-term friendships. Unfortunately, participants will not be allowed to commute to campus. Click here to learn more about the dorms, signature learning communities, first-year housing, and policies.
    • Meal cards are provided to students and will be used to access the on-campus dining facility, Mines Market. Additionally, catered meals will be provided throughout the program during scheduled activities. Accommodations for students with dietary needs will be made and those who need accommodations should reach out to upon signing their Challenge paperwork.
  • Does the program cost me anything to attend?
    • The Challenge program is free to students! The Multicultural Engineering Program and our generous donors cover the cost of tuition/fees, housing, daily meals, textbooks, and activities. However, you may want to bring additional spending money for miscellaneous personal expenses not covered by the program, for example, walking into Golden to grab ice-cream with friends!
  • What happens after the program ends – do I have any requirements for my freshman year?
    • Students will join a cohort of their Challenge peers in CSM 101, a freshman seminar course required for all incoming freshman. This is a “college transition” course, taught in small groups. Emphasis is placed on fostering connectedness to Mines, developing an appreciation of the value of a Mines education, and learning the techniques and university resources that will allow freshmen to develop to their fullest potential at Mines. Students who complete the Challenge program will also continue to check-in with MEP advisors throughout their fall and spring semesters on an as-needed basis. If students are interested in receiving continuing academic support, we may also require tutoring/office hours.
  • What is the Challenge program schedule like?
    • Participants will live on campus for four and a half weeks with classes and workshops during the weekdays, and community building activities on the weekends. Students will also have scheduled tutoring time with a community of Mines students. Each week is full of classes and activities that will help build academic and social skills for the fall semester.
    • See the Challenge 2023 schedule here! 
  • Are there GPA requirements to be a part of the Challenge program?
    • No, there are not GPA or other academic requirements to be a part of Challenge. Students are provided with academic supports throughout the program to help them complete coursework and do their very best in Challenge courses.
  • Am I required to attend the Challenge summer bridge program?
    • Those who are invited to participate in Challenge are extended this opportunity because a team at Mines determined that they may benefit from the academic preview and skill development that Challenge has to offer. While each student’s file is unique, we are happy to have a personal conversation about the benefits of the program and a review of the student’s academic standing. Some students may be just shy of meeting the explicit qualifications for acceptance into Mines, such as missing coursework in high school, AP scores that are below the entrance requirement, etc. and in these cases it is most likely that a student will be required to participate in Challenge prior to starting Mines in the fall. The goal is to equip Challenge students with a head-start through previewing Calculus and Chemistry curriculum, becoming familiar with the engineering design process, and finding a network of support on campus.
  • Can I leave the Challenge program early for personal reasons?
    • No, please schedule all medical/dental appointments before or after the program. Rare exceptions may be accommodated for with prior approval from MEP staff, but generally, students who miss courses or required activities without prior approval may be dismissed from the program.
    • A student who is no longer interested in attending Mines, or wishes to withdraw from the Challenge program, is encouraged to work directly with MEP staff to ensure all withdrawal processes are completed.
  • What happens if I do not pass the Challenge program?
    • Students in Challenge take three classes – Intro to Chemistry, Intro to Calculus, Engineering Design – and admission to Mines is contingent on successfully completing these three classes. All coursework, workshops, and tutoring sessions throughout Challenge are designed to help students have a successful first semester of college and we are here to support your journey to Mines. All Challenge students will have a conversation with MEP staff to determine what their pathway to Mines looks like, both during the program and once the program has ended so that students are aware of their progress throughout the program.
    • Students who successfully pass all three classes will not have a limit to their fall schedule and can enroll in up to 18 credit hours. Students who pass Challenge but struggled in their summer classes, or students who want a slower start in the fall semester to get a feel for Mines, will receive support in building a schedule of 12-14 credit hours. Students who do not pass their summer classes, or who think they need additional academic prep, can work with MEP staff to find a partnering college to take Pre-Calculus (or equivalent) and/or Chemistry I and build a stronger foundation in these core subject areas. Most students who do not pass Challenge have their admissions application to Mines placed on hold, and contingent on passing their Pre-Calculus/Chemistry courses in the fall, will be invited to start at Mines in the Spring semester.

Thank you to our generous sponsors! 

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