First Steps Summer Bridge Program

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About First Steps

First Steps is Cypress College’s 6-day summer bridge program designed specifically for newly graduating/exiting high school students with disabilities (IEPs, 504 plans, or other disability documentation). First Steps introduces students to Cypress College and its services and academic programs through individual and group instruction, enrollment in a transfer-level course, hands-on activities, and further learning opportunities. Its goals are to support student transition from high school to college, promote student engagement, and increase intrinsic motivation to foster student learning, development, and college success. It is our hope that First Steps students will grasp insight on college expectations and the experience enabling them to manage college with fewer adjustment challenges.

During the summer program, students will

  • Identify specific supports and academic adjustments needed in college and learn how to access them.
  • Complete a transfer-level college course — Counseling 100.
  • Develop a student educational plan.
  • Develop and apply study and learning strategies.
  • Learn and practice self-advocacy skills needed to navigate the college successfully.
  • Learn about student services and take campus tours.
  • Learn about the differences between high school and college.
  • Explore inclusive technology supporting student success.
  • Have fun!
  • And much more!

Student Eligibility

  • Must have graduated or exited high school during the same year.
  • Must have an IEP or 504 plan from middle or high school or verification of a disability from a medical or psychological doctor.
  • Must have interest in attending Cypress College following the First Steps Program.
  • Must be able to benefit in college courses. For example, students should be able to work independently, use email and online learning platforms, know what they need and how to request it, read (with or without accommodations) and understand the material, and have behavioral responses in compliance with the NOCCCD Student Code of Conduct.


While the First Steps Program is free, there is a cost to enroll in the one-unit course, Counseling 100. 

*Students may qualify for the CCPG that waives the enrollment fee. Visit the Cypress College Financial Aid website to find information about and to apply for the California College Promise Grant (CCPG).

Steps to Apply


Apply to Cypress College. Click on “General Student Application.” **IMPORTANT** Make sure to select FALL when completing the application. After you have completed the application, a registration email will be sent to the email address you provided in the application. You will receive your student ID number in this email. Save your student identification number. You will need it! Also, check your email often!


Apply to Disability Support Services (DSS). **IMPORTANT** You will need an electronic copy of your IEP, 504 Plan, or disability verification. Have it ready when you apply. Click on “Apply to DSS.” Complete the online application, upload your IEP, and click on submit. If you need assistance, view the How to Apply to DSS tutorial. If you need help from someone in person, visit DSS during office hours. After you submit your application/IEP, DSS will contact you via email (or phone) to schedule your new student appointment. Make sure to check your email often!


Schedule and attend your new student appointment with DSS. During this appointment, you will meet with a counselor to discuss your IEP/504 (disability), talk about supports and services you may need, discuss your academic interests and classes, and complete an Academic Accommodation Plan. If you cannot make your appointment, make sure to reschedule it. You must complete your appointment to be registered with DSS and to participate in First Steps.


Complete the Interest Form for the First Steps Program. The completion of this form confirms your interest in participating and saves a spot in the summer First Steps Program. During the spring semester (i.e. Jan/Feb), you will receive an email with registration instructions. Make sure to check your email often!


Students must enroll in COUN 100, a class that is part of the First Steps Program. Sometime in April/May, students will find their specific enrollment “appointment” in myGateway. This “appointment” is the assigned day and time the student may enroll in classes. Students will need their student ID number and password to access myGateway.

NOTE: If a student has taken COUN 140, this meets the course requirement. They do not need to take COUN 100 but may still participate in First Steps.

To register for a course*:

  1. Log into myGateway. You must have your student ID number and password. If you do not, contact the Admissions office for assistance.
  2. On the myGateway home screen, click on “Add or Drop Classes” in the right side menu.
  3. In the Select a Term section, click on “Cypress College Summer [current year].” After you click submit, you will answer some personal questions not listed here.
  4. Enter the CRN for COUN 100 and click “Confirm Your Choices.” If you need help finding the CRN for COUN 100, contact DSS at (714) 484-7104 or email
  5. Click “Complete Registration.”
  6. Select Cypress College as your campus. Click on “Cypress College.”
  7. Select optional items (optional fees) you would like to purchase.
  8. At this point, you should be on the “Account Summary by Term” screen. This means your course registration is complete! You may print or view the class in which you enrolled.

*For detailed instructions with visual screenshots, visit How to Register for Classes.

Contact Information

Disability Support Services (DSS)
Cypress College
T: (714) 484-7104
Video Phone: (657) 777-4208
W: DSS Website

First Steps Leader

Adrienne Sanchez at

DSS Director

Celeste Phelps at