Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the Upward Bound program:

Q: What is Upward Bound?

A: Upward Bound provides academic support to high school students so they may complete high school, enroll in college, and successfully obtain a college degree. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s TRIO Programs division, qualifying participants come from families who meet federal income guidelines, or are first-generation college students. Upward Bound was established by the Federal Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 and the Higher Education Act of 1965. It was considered part of the War on Poverty program of US President Lyndon B Johnson.

Q: Who is eligible to participate? 

A: Participants must attend Alleghany County, Ashe County, Avery County, Freedom, McDowell, Watauga County, or West Wilkes High Schools and be in 9th or 10th grade at time of application. Students must demonstrate the desire to attend college, and be the first generation in his/her family to go to college and/or come from a modest-income household. Students must also have academic needs as determined by an Upward Bound Academic Coordinator.

You may qualify for Upward Bound if you would be the first person in your family to attend college or if your family income is at or below these appropriate figures. 

Low income level chart

Q: How much does it cost to join Upward Bound?

A: All services provided to Upward Bound students, including the six-week summer programs, trips, and tutoring services, are provided free of charge. There is no cost to families.

Q: When and how are new participants selected?

A: The Upward Bound application process takes place each fall semester. Applicants are often referred by teachers and school counselors, but they may also refer themselves. Those interested in applying must first fill out an application (please see the front page of our website). Your application is reviewed by staff then an interview is set up to determine your level of commitment to the program.

Q: What is my commitment to Upward Bound?

A: Students who are accepted into Upward Bound are accepted for the remainder of their high school careers provided they keep their grades up and continue to participate. We ask that students attend all Upward Bound sponsored events. Remember, you can't get anything out of a program you don't put anything into. We promise to make an investment in your education, if you promise to invest your time and energy by participating.

Q: If I am accepted to Upward Bound, will I be allowed to participate in extra-curriculars at my high school?

A: We encourage students to participate in extra-curricular activities in their high schools, such as sports, clubs, drama or band. Although we stress commitment to the UB program, we also realize that extracurriculars are valuable and we will work with you if you have matches, competitions, or performances scheduled at a time that conflict with a UB activity.

Q: Can I work and participate in Upward Bound?

A: Yes, you can work, if it does not interfere excessively with Upward Bound required activities and attendance. You will have to advocate for yourself to request that you not be scheduled to work during an Upward Bound activity.

Q: Is Upward Bound for me if I want to enlist in the military right after high school?

A: No, UB is intended for students who want to enroll in college or community college right after high school. Many of our students participate in JROTC and ROTC in college, however. If your plan is to enlist in the military after high school graduation, you should contact a recruiter for the branch you're interested in.

Q: What are the services UB provides?

A: Group and one-on-one tutoring, instruction, counseling and academic advising, workshops on test-taking and career development, and study skills, information on scholarship and financial aid availability and assistance in getting applications for college and scholarships completed, educational and cultural activities, and career guidance. All students are checked out a Chromebook and hotspot (if needed). During Coronavirus, all services and activities are virtual.

Q: What kind of commitments must families make?

One of our goals is to develop a strong working partnership with each student and his/her family. Therefore, it is important that the whole family consider the following: purpose of the program, services provided, time commitments for the school year and summer programs, and the importance of open communication & returning phone calls and messages.

Q: When is the summer program?

A: The summer program runs from mid-June through mid-July. During Coronavirus the summer program is completely virtual. When it is safe to do so, we will return to an in-person summer program and students will live in the dorms on Appalachian's campus from Sunday-Friday during this time.

Q: Does UB provide transportation?

A: There are no in-person events during Coronavirus, but when it is safe to return to in-person activities UB will provide bus or van transportation to events at App State. Families must drop off and pick up their students at their home high schools.

Q: Will Upward Bound pay for the student’s college education?

No, but we provide advice and guidance for families to complete financial aid applications such as the FAFSA and CSS Profile. We also connect students to specific scholarships and access programs, help with scholarship applications, write recommendation letters, and help families understand financial aid offer letters.

Q: Will I fit in?

A: If you want to go to college, but don't really know all the steps it'll take to get there, then Upward Bound is for you. Our current students don't have all the answers either, but they know enough to ask questions in order to get the right answers. Also, if your grades are ok, but could be better, or if they're great but you want a challenge, then you're in the right place.

Our students form an open, welcoming group of young people. They realize they're all working toward the same goal; they support each other and help each other.

Q: If I enroll in the App State Upward Bound Program, does this mean I have to attend App State once I graduate from high school?

A: No, not at all. While a number of our students do chose to attend App State, it's not a requirement and we will help you apply to and enroll at whichever college or community college is a good fit for you.

Q: What does UB expect from me?

A: We require our students to:

  • Take challenging classes that will get them ready for college each year of high school
  • Work hard and have a positive attitude
  • Participate in the summer program (virtual during Coronavirus)
  • Attend weekly group or individual advising meetings (virtual during Coronavirus)
  • Graduate from high school
  • Attend a community college or 4-year college directly after high school with plans to graduate with a degree

Q: Why is Upward Bound important?

A: Upward Bound is important because it helps students develop many skills and provides motivation to pursue academic success in high school and eventually at the college or community college of their choice.

Q: Can I still apply if I'm failing one or more of my classes?

A: Yes! Anyone can apply. We have students who have started off with a failing class or two and gone on to achieve great success later in high school and in college.

Q: What happens if I do not get selected this year?

A: If you do not get selected this year and you qualify then your records will be kept on a waiting list for the next available space. We will contact you as space opens.

Q: Is Upward Bound successful?

A: YES! 95% of Upward Bound graduates have entered post-secondary education. TRIO program research shows that Upward Bound students are four times more likely to earn a college degree than students from similar backgrounds who do not participate in the program.

If you have any additional questions, please contact us.