Program Criteria and Enrollment Periods

Upward Bound serves 50 students annually and recruits new participants to fill openings every fall. Students applying to Upward Bound must meet the following qualifications in order to be eligible for the program:

  • Must be a current freshman, sophomore, or junior
  • Must attend either Smith-Cotton High School, Smith-Cotton Junior High or Whittier High School
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Must be a potential first-generation college graduate and/or satisfy an income guideline. To be first generation, the applicant cannot reside with a natural/adoptive parent who has a bachelor’s degree. Income guidelines are predetermined by the U.S. Department of Education and change annually.
  • Must attend the six-week Summer Academic Academy
  • Must be committed to improving his/her high school grades and attending college

Application Process

Recruitment assemblies for Upward Bound are scheduled by grade level in the fall semester. Candidates receive an application at the assembly and must fill it out completely, including two essay questions and an academic needs survey. Parents will need to provide their most recent tax documentation for income verification.

Students meeting the basic eligibility requirements are interviewed by the program staff and evaluated on their eligibility, interview, essays, need, and interest. Candidates are notified whether they have been accepted, put on the wait-list or denied within a few weeks of the interview.

Once accepted, candidates and their parents are required to attend an orientation event where they must sign a parent/participant contract agreeing to participate in the services offered by the program. Students are then set in probationary participation status for 60 days. After the 60-day probationary period, students are full participants of the program.

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