About Upward Bound

What is Upward Bound? 

Our Student Advisory Board members share their thoughts and experiences of UB through a video. https://youtu.be/rvqeRwlcUY8

Our Video Productions class shows you an Upward Bound summer: https://youtu.be/Ob87ktoJbio

Check out Upward Bound on Central College’s campus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqWAXsw-ejc



More Information on Upward Bound

Do you ever think about the future, your future? Do you ever dream about what you might become or what your life might be like after high school?

You’ve heard it many times—a good education is the key to that future success you’ve dreamed about. For many students, the road to success begins through participation in Central College Upward Bound (“UB”). Central College UB is a completely free college access program that helps potential first-generation* and/or income-eligible students from designated high schools develop the skills and motivation they need to successfully complete high school and enroll in and complete a 2-or-4-year program of post-secondary education.

*A first-generation student is one who does not live with a parent who graduated from a four-year college with a baccalaureate degree.


  • UB activities and meetings begin in the month of September, focusing on academic performance and preparation towards college.   
  • Additional support is provided through program services such as academic and social emotional curriculum during school meetings, tutoring, service projects, cultural events, and/or campus visits. 
  • UB Advisors meet with students at least twice per month at their high schools to help students prepare for their education plans after high school through monthly curriculum and advising students to enroll in rigorous curriculum courses.    
  • Career exploration, ACT preparation, college search process, financial aid, and financial literacy are all embedded in school meetings. 
  • In-school support—UB identifies a school counselor or staff member to serve as a Target School Contact (TSC) in each target school. The TSC is a liaison between the high school and Central College UB staff. The TSC helps UB students keep their focus on improving the skills needed for education beyond high school and also approves individualized tutoring for students who need academic support. 





Approximately 100 students participate in the four-week summer residential program at Central College in Pella, IA.  This program is a “college-like” experience allowing students to live in dorms with supervision and prepare academically for the upcoming school year.

  • Weeks #1-3 include instruction in math, science, literature, composition, foreign language, and other elective courses, including some offered for college credit. Evening activities help students develop confidence, interests, and social skills.
  • During Week #4, students and staff take an extended weekend to explore the historical and cultural life of a major Midwestern city. Students visit main attractions, attend cultural events, and/or visit college & university campuses in the area.
  • Each weekend students return home on Friday afternoon and return to Central College campus on Sunday evenings.
  • Students are supervised in dorms by college students and adult summer staff who are hired and trained by Central College Upward Bound. These staff members also assist in classrooms and provide supervision at all evening activities.
  • All summer program expenses are paid for each UB student through a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education including meals at Central College dining facilities.

Upward Bound provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their precollege performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits. Upward Bound serves: high school students from low-income families; and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.