Upward Bound: One of the Most Influential College Prep Programs Yet

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Looking back on high school, we can all agree that it was one of the most difficult times growing up. Between going through “the change” and trying to figure out who or what we wanted to be, it seemed as if we were all going crazy. 

When it was time to decide what college to go to, the stress went from normal to unbearable, and being able to decide what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives was not as easy as every adult tried to make it seem. Teens are constantly struggling with the decision to enter college because of the financial harm it could cause on their families. The teens who are underrepresented and who live in poverty would normally suffer the most, but thanks to a program called Upward Bound, that is not always the case.

Upward Bound is a part of Trio and it is a college-prep program geared to give high school students the college experience that they would not normally have. Upward Bound accepts high school students in an attempt to push them in the right direction and help them accomplish things that they may not have been able to do, such as going to a college with a full-ride scholarship. 

Upward Bound is active during the school year and during the summer. During the school year, students are expected to attend weekly meetings, bring their progress reports in, attend cultural events and complete community service hours. That helps the students become more active within their education, and it also starts to build their resume before even thinking about applying for college. Each student is required to keep their grades up while also making sure they are participating and working hard to achieve the goals they set for themselves. 

During the summer, Upward Bound is more immersive. Students are required to not only study over the summer, but to move into dorms so that they can get the real college experience. This shows them how it feels to be away from their homes while also giving them a glimpse into the amount of responsibility that will be placed on them when they leave home for college. During the summer, the students also are given the opportunity to travel and visit colleges all over the country.

“Upward Bound (opened) my eyes to (a) variety of experiences and opportunities I probably wouldn’t have experienced, and I also (obtained) great skills,” said Tatyona Fields, a Michigan State University senior. 

Fields, as well as many others who have been through the program, can attest that Upward Bound is where they found their voice. Upward Bound pushed students in many ways, including public speaking, staying on top of their business and being able to market themselves better. There is an Upward Bound program right here on MSU’s campus. They are always looking for volunteers and new mentors to help prepare high school students for their first adult experience of going to college. Stop by the program’s office in Wonders Hall to see how you can give back.