Upward Bound Programs help students to prepare for college careers; on-campus summer programs start June 5

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Upward Bound Programs help students to prepare for college careers; on-campus summer programs start June 5

May 24, 2016

Approximately 70 high school students from Alfalfa, Major and Woods counties will be a part of the Upward Bound summer programs on Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s Alva campus starting June 5.

Students in the Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science programs not only take part in summer activities but throughout the academic year, they complete monthly meetings, monthly assignments and on-going academic advising. The program's rigorous academic and counseling components are designed to provide students with four years of continuous preparation for college beginning in the fall of their ninth grade academic year. Academic instruction includes mathematics, laboratory sciences, composition, literature and foreign languages.

Tutoring, counseling, mentoring, cultural enrichment, education or counseling services are designed to improve the financial and economic literacy of students.

“Programs and activities are specially designed for students who are limited English proficient, students from groups that are traditionally under-represented in post-secondary education, students with disabilities, students who are homeless children and youths; students who are in foster care or are aging out of the foster care system or other disconnected students,” Jaunita Dotson, Upward Bound director, said.

Students also learn about career awareness and planning, college adjustment and financial aid training, personal advising and mentoring, and academic advising and motivation to help equip students for college by teaching effective strategies for coping with stress in higher education.

“Upward Bound provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance,” Dotson said. “The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their pre-college performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits.”

Nineteen seniors who just received their high school diplomas will enter what is called the “Bridge” program. The Bridge students will live in university housing for the summer semester and attend two college classes at no cost to the student or family. Bridge students will move in on Wednesday, June 1, the same day Northwestern’s summer term begins.

“We had 32 seniors that graduated this year,” Dotson said. “This was the largest graduating class in the nine years we have had Upward Bound at Northwestern.”

“We have two other students who will be attending military boot camp training through the Army and National Guard. Once this training is complete, they will enroll in college. Out of the 32 students, we will have one attending a trade school, one attending beauty school, three students attending a tech center. So, we will actually have 26 out of 32 students attending a college or university in the fall. We have over 81 percent of our first-generation college bound, and/or low-income students pursuing a post-secondary degree.Statistics show the majority of this type of population would most likely not go on to pursue a post-secondary degree without the assistance of a program like Upward Bound.”

Move-in date for the younger students is Sunday, June 5, from 4-6 p.m. The boys will stay in Ament Hall and the girls will stay in South Hall.

These students will continue to arrive on campus each Sunday through June and return home after lunch on Thursdays. From 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday they will attend classes that will prepare them for the next school year.

After lunch each day, the program counselors will provide social, cultural, academic and team-building activities, as well as various types of volunteer projects including activities at the Homestead located in Alva, Stamp Out Starvation in Cherokee along with coordinating and assisting with the summer blood drive on the Northwestern campus.

In July, the younger students will have the week of July 4 off for the families that travel during that time. Monday, July 11, students will be back on campus, and the entire program ends by taking a cultural field trip from Saturday, July 18, to Wednesday, July 22. The Bridge students’ trip will be to St. Louis, Missouri, and the younger Upward Bound students will travel to Memphis, Tennessee.

Dotson looks forward to seeing new faces in the program and said that applications are still being accepted for students in grades 9-12. Dotson encourages them to apply soon to take advantage of the program’s many opportunities.

“We are excited to meet many new recruits that just graduated from eighth grade,” Dotson said. “Since we had such a large graduating senior class, we’ve had to replace those students with many rising freshmen.We are also excited that one of our math teachers, Aaron Randall, will be returning after two years to teach math.”

Upon approval, current Northwestern juniors and seniors are able to work with the Upward Bound programs as counselors. Each prospective counselor goes through a full-scale interview to determine their level of maturity and if they can handle the responsibilities that come with the position.

Funding for the Upward Bound programs at Northwestern is provided through the Department of Education.

For more information about participating in the Upward Bound programs and the requirements, contact Dotson at (580) 327-8113 or jrnoble@nwosu.edu. An application form and additional information are available at www.nwosu.edu/upward-bound.