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Attention middle and high school students:

Think about today’s job market. Can you name a high-paying job (besides a professional athlete or a job in entertainment) that does not require a college degree? Last week, I came across a job posting for a secretary position at a local college in Indiana; the first requirement for this position was an associate degree. In other words, a college education has almost become a necessity rather than an option. A college degree will not necessarily make you rich, but it can change your life! 

If that’s the case, when does preparation for college begin? Yep, you guessed it: it starts the first day of high school! If you need help with college preparation, look no further than the TRiO Upward Bound program.

What is TRiO Upward Bound?

TRiO Upward Bound is a college preparatory program that is federally funded by the Department of Education and targets first-generation, low-income high school students. The program assists students in preparing for college through academic, social and cultural exposure.

The POWER of TRiO Upward Bound

The power of the Upward Bound lies in the additional academic support and the personal attention that each participant receives. These programs advise, mentor and instruct students in literature, science, mathematics and composition, as well as offer five-week summer sessions to help students sharpen their skills. Upward bound is designed to help students understand what it takes to be successful in college. It was estimated that in 2005, that over 75 percent of Upward Bound high school seniors attended college the fall semester following high school graduation. 

Wait!!!! I failed to mention one important factor about the program: the cost. I know what you are thinking: the tutoring, advising, mentoring, the five-week summer program and the additional academic support … there has to be a cost, right? Wrong: the program is completely FREE! Yes, that is the beauty of the upward bound! If you qualify for the program there is no cost to you!

What are the qualifications?

Currently, there are 964 Upward Bound programs operating throughout the United States. Each program has different requirements for admissions; contact your area Upward Bound program or your high school guidance counselor to learn the specific requirements for your local program  For information on how to find your local program keep reading!

How do I find a program in my area?

If you are interested in the Upward Bound program, but unsure where to look, I offer these suggestions:

First, check with your high school guidance counselor. Many Upward Bound employees work closely with high school guidance counselors to find qualified students.

Secondly, since most TRiO Upward Bound programs are held on college campuses, I suggest you check the website of your local college or university and type “pre-college programs” (a term used for high school programs on a college campus) in the search bar. If you find yourself at a dead end, please contact us at, and we will be more than happy to help.


The TRiO Upward Bound program is one of the best-kept secrets in college preparation programming. Our local program at Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne has helped several hundred students enroll and succeed in college. One of my students attended the summer bridge component of the Indiana University Groups Scholars Program, a support program for incoming low-income, first-generation students, this past summer. He earned a 3.5 GPA after taking three summer classes, and is ready to start the fall semester.

If you are anxious about the college process, Upward Bound is for you! If you desire additional academic support, mentoring and advising, Upward Bound is for you! If you want to sharpen your skills during the summer, Upward Bound is for you! If you have a strong desire to attend college, Upward Bound is for you! Everything we do touches the college experience. The program is powerful because of students we serve!


Again, if you need help, please don’t hesitate to email or tweet us!, @FirstGenTwins

“We believe that if we DID it, then we know you can DO IT” – Ron and Rodney Lewis