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Upward Bound

Preparing High School Students for College


SWOSU’s Upward Bound Program for college-bound high school students is an empowering and motivational initiative that helps students succeed in a postsecondary education setting. The Upward Bound Program is a federally funded and state supported educational program that provides academic and counseling services to students in preparation for college.

We recruit qualified high-school students and provide tutoring, personal, career and academic counseling during the academic year as well as during a summer session. What's more, Saturday Academies are provided bi-monthly during the academic year to strengthen the students’ performance in their classes. During the six-week summer session students engage in an intense academic and cultural experience that helps prepare them for college life.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Upward Bound

What is Upward Bound?

Upward Bound (UB) is a federally funded program for students who are interested in postsecondary education after graduation from high school. During the school year, students attend monthly academic meetings and participate in an online tutoring program. During the summer, students live on the SWOSU campus and participate in a full schedule of academic, social (including sports), and cultural activities for six weeks. During the school year and summer, students receive personal and academic counseling, assistance with financial aid and college admission applications, preparation for the ACT, an ACT fee waiver, visit college campuses, and are exposed to professional careers and mentors.

Who may apply?

Only students whose goal it is to obtain a college degree and who are not a discipline problem at school need apply. Students wishing to apply must meet the following five criteria:

  1. Be a U.S Citizen, permanent resident, or in the U.S. for other than a temporary reason and provide evidence of intent to become a permanent resident.
  2. Be from a low-income family (as determined by TAXABLE income) and/or be a potential first-generation college student (neither parent has a four-year degree).
  3. Have a core GPA of 2.50 or higher (math, English, science, history and foreign language).
  4. Be enrolled in grades 9, 10, 11 and attend one of the six following high schools:
    1.  Anadarko
    2. Burns Flat-Dill City
    3. Canute
    4. Carnegie
    5. Clinton
    6. Hobart
    7. Watonga
  5. Be willing and able to participate in all scheduled program services and activities, unless a qualifying school activity prevents one from doing so. This includes attending the Saturday Academies during the school year and the six-week residential program each summer.

What is the "Bridge" program?

Students who remain in UB and graduate high school may “bridge” into college the summer following graduation. UB will pay for up to six hours of tuition, fees, books, and room and board.  Bridge students are still a part of UB and will continue to participate in all trips, services and activities that do not interfere with their college classes. Tutors and study labs are provided to ensure each student “bridges” successfully.

How much does Upward Bound Cost?

All services and activities are provided FREE of cost to all eligible participants. UB spends $5,123 per student every year. The only cost to the student is to follow the rules and remain committed to the program until graduation from high school. The only cost to the parents/guardians is their cooperation and support.

How do I apply?

You may request an application from your school counselor. Once you have completed the application, give it to your school counselor along with your parents’ income tax return. He/she will mail it to our office with your transcript and test scores. Only completed applications will be considered.

I've turned in my application, now what?

UB staff will review all applications to determine eligibility. Once eligibility has been established, students will be selected based on need. Those selected will be required to, with at least one parent or guardian, meet with a staff person to discuss the program goals and requirements. Students not selected will be notified by mail and placed on a waiting list. As an opening(s) becomes available, students will be selected from the waiting list based on need.

College & Career Resources

Paying for college with grants, scholarships and federal loans. is the state's official website that provides information about higher education in Oklahoma for students, counselors, and parents. It is designed to be the most comprehensive and current source for college planning for Oklahoma students, beginning as early as middle school. includes the following features:

Explore Colleges & Careers

  • Discover the colleges and universities in the state.
  • Determine the careers that best match your skills and interests.
  • Match schools with your career interests.

Plan & Pay for College

  • See which high school classes are needed to meet admission requirements.
  • Learn about ways to pay for college.
  • Apply online for Oklahoma Promise.
  • Create a personal portfolio to track your college planning.

Apply to College

  • Gather information about the admission requirements at all Oklahoma colleges and universities.
  • Apply online to most of the colleges and universities in Oklahoma.

The information on the UCanGo2 Site can help you and your parents prepare, plan and pay for education after high school. No matter where you want to go or what you want to do, one thing is true. Getting some type of education after high school (whether going to college, trade school or technical school) will help you along the way.

Oklahoma Money Matters (OKMM) is a personal finance education program that helps K-12 schools, higher education campuses, businesses and community partners develop or expand educational services that empower Oklahomans to make positive financial choices

Financial Aid for College

  • FAFSA- Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Searching for Scholarships

Choosing the Right College

Choosing the Right Career

  • O*Net- Source of occupational information, providing comprehensive information on key attributes and characteristics of workers and occupations.
  • America's Career InfoNet- A resource for making informed career decisions to support a demand-driven workforce investment system.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook- Gives accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive information on occupations.

Test Preparation & Registration

  • ACT- A student site for ACT test takers, provides test dates, registration, free sample tests and tips.
  • College Board- Register and prepare for the SAT