Upward Bound Helps Local High School Students Get into College

Photo of a group of Upward Bound students

This fall, 83 percent of the recent high school graduates who participated in Compton College's Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) program are beginning their studies at four-year colleges and universities in Southern California. All are first-generation college students who benefited from the program, which aims to help students graduate from high school, enroll in college and successfully earn degrees. For most of these students, being accepted to a university was a distant goal with many obstacles, especially financial. UBMS provided them with the academic discipline, knowledge and resources needed to successfully enter higher education.

"I joined this program after a representative from Compton College came to my high school to tell students about the benefits of participating in Upward Bound," said Clarissa Rodriguez, a 2017 graduate of Dominguez High School who is attending UC Davis to major in landscape architecture. "I signed up because I believed it would help me prepare for college, and since I wanted to major in a STEM field, Upward Bound's emphasis on math and science appealed to me."

For many years, UBMS has been opening up possibilities for its students, and the program at Compton College is helping many local students from Compton and Dominguez High Schools successfully enter four-year colleges and universities upon graduation. "Upward Bound is specifically tailored for students who have the potential to improve academically in order to meet university admission requirements," said Ranesha Stewart, Compton College interim program manager for the Upward Bound Math and Science program.

Established as part of the Department of Higher Education's TRIO initiative, Upward Bound Math and Science was created in an effort to remove barriers to access and success in higher education. The program helps participants improve their precollege performance and, ultimately, all of their higher education pursuits. UBMS serves high school students from low-income families, as well as those from families where neither parent earned a bachelor's degree.

Rodriguez is a first-generation college student who has a 4.0+ GPA and just needed that extra boost provided by the UBMS program to make her educational goals a reality. She also received much needed assistance in navigating the college application process. "Upward Bound definitely helped me get into college," she said. "I didn't know much about the application process and the program's staff helped me with every step in applying to the colleges I wanted to attend. The Upward Bound classes helped me with my high school courses, especially because I was struggling in calculus. I would have struggled a lot more if I was not part of Upward Bound."

In addition to the focused curriculum, students gain exposure to industry professionals within the math and science fields, participate in field trips to cultural, academic and educational events, and make new friends with their peers who share similar interests. The course options include an 18-session Saturday Academy during the regular school year and a six-week Summer Program.

A highlight of the Summer Program is spending finals week at a local four-year university so participants can get a hands-on perspective of college life. The students stay in the dorms, take their finals in lecture halls and may use some of the university resources such as computer labs. The program provides academic, counseling and tutoring services, SAT/ACT test preparation, guest speakers and field trips. Year-round support is also provided to assist students through the entire university enrollment process.

"I benefited greatly from the Upward Bound Math and Science program and support of the advisors at Compton College," said Rodriguez. "I learned so much, and they helped make the college selection, application and acceptance process so much easier! I am now ready to take on new challenges, continue my studies, and experience college life at UC Davis."

The Upward Bound Math and Science program is free to students and is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. For more information or to enroll in the program, contact Ranesha Stewart at 310-900-1600, ext. 2767 or visit the website: www.compton.edu/studentservices/supportservices/trio/

Return to Homepage