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Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1 - What is Upward Bound?

The Upward Bound program provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. Guided by the belief that education should be available to all persons with the potential to succeed at that level, the program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in high school academic performance and subsequent higher education pursuits. The goal of the program is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education, enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.

Question 2 - How much does the program cost?

There is absolutely no cost to participate in the Upward Bound program. As a federally funded program, all costs are paid. However, the program does not cover personal purchases (i.e. souvenirs).

Question 3 - Who is eligible to participate?

Individuals are eligible to participate if they are in the 9th or 10th grade during the enrollment period and attend one of the seven high schools in the Bibb County Public School System. Students must reside in households in which their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have not earned a Bachelor's Degree and/or meet federal income requirements.

Question 4 - How many high school students are eligible to participate?

Mercer University Upward Bound is funded to serve 155 students.

Question 5 - What does the admissions process entail?

All prospective students must complete an application for admission.

A completed application, if entering in the 9th grade, includes the submission of the following documents: copy of 8th grade report card, copy of ITBS/CRCT scores, recommendation from middle school counselor, recommendation from middle school teacher, personal statement, signed copy of parent's most recent tax forms, and any supplemental documentation to support income statement. 

A completed application, if entering in the 10th grade, includes the submission of the following documents: copy of 9th grade report card, copy of ITBS/CRCT scores, recommendation from high school counselor, recommendation from high school teacher, personal statement, signed copy of parent's most recent tax forms, and any supplemental documentation to support income statement.

In addition, applicants are interviewed by members of the Upward Bound staff.

Question 6 - When does the enrollment period begin and end?

The Mercer University Upward Bound enrollment period begins in March or April and ends in September of each year. Individuals selected begin actively participating in the program in October.

Question 7 - How are students selected?

Applicants are selected based on a combination of factors: completed application, essay, recommendations, grades, need, and interview. However, all applicants must meet the income and/or first-generation status requrements to be considered for the program.

Question 8 - When are new admits required to begin?

Applicants will be notified by the end of September. If admitted to the program, students and parents are required to attend a New Student Orientation (failure to attend will forfeit your acceptance). Following the New Student Orientation, students will begin active participation in the program.

Question 9 - What if my child did not receive an acceptance letter?

Candidates who did not receive an acceptance letter may be placed on our waiting list and will be notified if any new spots become available. Some candidates will receive a rejection letter. These candidates can reapply the following year if they are in the 9th grade.

Question 10 - What are the program's expectations for participants?

Participants are expected to commit to Upward Bound until they graduate from high school. In committing to the program, students should attend all mandatory sessions and turn in all required documents at the time they are due. Additionally, students are required to exhibit appropriate behavior at all UB sponsored events and respect UB staff, peers, and themselves at all times. Students and parents sign a contract pledging their agreement to uphold UB standards upon entering the program.

Question 11 - What services are provided to current participants?

Upward Bound offers an Academic Year component in which students receive supplemental instruction in academic, cultural, and social areas, as well as a Summer Residential component - an intensive six-week instructional program requiring students to live on campus during the summer. All services are provided through a federally funded grant and are free to the participant.

Academic Year Component

Students receive numerous services that enhance their social and academic development, including:

  • Instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, foreign language and other subjects necessary for success in high school
  • Academic, financial, and personal counseling
  • Exposure to cultural events
  • Mentoring
  • Tutoring
  • Assistance with postsecondary opportunities. 

Summer Residential Component

The Summer Residential component is by invitation only. If chosen to participate, students receive the services offered during the Academic Year in addition to:

  • Career work-study and exploration
  • Dorm-living on the campus of Mercer University for up to six weeks
  • Enrollment in courses taught by college professors to receive a true college experience

Question 12 - Does Upward Bound provide financial support for participants attending postsecondary education?

No. However, Upward Bound will provide resources and materials to help students/parents pay for their postsecondary education. For example, but not limited to, filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Question 13 - What are the benefits of joining Upward Bound?

Some of the benefits associated with joining our program include:

  • Access to a personal Academic Advisor geared to help you succeed in high school and beyond
  • Exposure to a plethora of cultural and college activities
  • Participation in an intensive 6-week academic experience
  • Preparation for standardized tests (PSAT, SAT, GHSGT)
  • Assistance with the admission and financial aid processes
  • Receipt of monthly stipends

Question 14 - Do I reapply to Upward Bound each year?

No. Once accepted into Upward Bound you are in the program until you graduate from high school.

Question 15 - Does my participation in the Mercer University Upward Bound program guarantee me admission into the university?

No. The Upward Bound program is a federally funded program and cannot guarantee admission to any postsecondary institution. If a student is interested in attending Mercer, we can help facilitate the process. However, the student must meet the basic requirements of the university admission's office.