Skip to main content

What is Upward Bound?

A FREE, FUN and ENGAGING College-Prep Program for High School Students!

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has hosted the Upward Bound Program for over 50 years! It’s a FREE high school college-prep program and part of the Federal TRIO Grant Programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The Upward Bound Program recruits student-participants from eight target school districts in five counties from Central and Northcentral Wisconsin. Look below to find a full listing our school districts, eligibility requirements, and what we do.

Our Mission

To provide underrepresented populations of high school students in Central and Northcentral Wisconsin with academic, cultural, and personal support for the purposes of high school graduation, postsecondary enrollment, and lifelong success in a diverse world.



The Upward Bound staff provide year-round services to the students through online tutoring, monthly school visits, college visit tours, our weekend workshops, and a live-in summer program. All services are provided to our students at no cost to them!

  1. Monthly School Visits: Our Academic Coordinator visits our students at least once per month in their high school to advise them on high school academics, social issues, and general college admission topics.
  2. 24/7 Online Tutoring and Paper Drop: Upward Bound offers FREE 24/7 online tutoring to our program participants through their account. Students also have access to the free paper drop tool, where they may submit a writing assignment and a tutor will review it for errors and areas of improvement!
  3. Fall and Spring Workshops: Students are encouraged to attend 2 overnight weekend workshops per year (one in fall and one in spring). Students stay in a hotel overnight and attend sessions on career awareness, college planning, and being academically successful.
  4. College Visits: Students have the option to attend 2 overnight trips to visit 2-3 colleges per trip (one in fall and one in spring). This is a great opportunity for students to be exposed to different college settings.
  5. Summer Session: All students have the opportunity to spend 1 to 5 weeks living on the UWSP Campus in a residence hall, eat in the university dining center, and take high school classes to prepare them for the next year. Students can earn 1 elective high school credit for participating which looks great on college applications!

Program Success

Upward Bound tracks student-participants for multiple years, from high school through college graduation. On average, 85 percent of Upward Bound graduates will graduate high school and immediately attend an institution of higher education, which is a significant increase in college/university attendance compared to students of the same background whom do not join the program. Overall, Upward Bound is a successful program for students looking to make the most of their educational experience.

Recruitment Slide Presentation



8th-11th grade students who are in our school districts must meet ONE of the following two requirements:

  1. Be a would-be-first-generation college student (i.e. the education level of both biological/adoptive parents is less than a four-year bachelors degree) OR
  2. Come from a low-income family, as determined here.

Our School Districts

Almond-Bancroft, WI

  • Almond-Bancroft High School

Minocqua, WI & Lac du Flambeau, WI Areas

  • Lakeland Union High School

Nekoosa, WI

  • Nekoosa High School

Rosholt, WI

  • Rosholt High School

Stevens Point, WI Area

  • Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH)
  • P. J. Jacobs Junior High School
  • Ben Franklin Junior High School
  • Point of Discovery School

Tomahawk, WI

  • Tomahawk High School

Waupaca, WI

  • Waupaca High School

Wisconsin Rapids, WI

  • Lincoln High School

To begin, complete the online Pre-Application below, which takes about 3 to 5 minutes.

**Pre-Apps submitted AFTER March 20,2023 will automatically be put on a waitlist for admission due to a high amount of applications this year**


After reviewing the information, we will send you a letter in the mail within 7 days.  You may also receive a text message or an email from a staff member to thank you for your application and to follow up with any questions we may have.

Schedule an, online or in-person meeting with Upward Bound Academic Coordinator, Pa Chee Thao.

Upward Bound offers FREE 24/7 online tutoring to our program participants through their account. Students also have access to the free paper drop tool, where they may submit a writing assignment and a tutor will review it for errors and areas of improvement!

Log in to your account here.

USERNAME: Your username is an email (either personal or school) that you provided us
PASSWORD: upwardbound

If you are having troubles logging in or don’t know your username email, contact Pa Chee Thao at or



Keely Hanson, former Upward Bound Peer Coach
Keely Hanson, former Upward Bound Peer Coach

What is a Peer Coach?

A Peer Coach is a student guide in Upward Bound for other UB students who are newer in the program. They will provide information, encouragement, skills, perspective, and feedback to the newer students. They are an additional resource to help our newer members succeed!

What are the criteria for being a Peer Coach?

1.     Be an active Upward Bound participant by attending required activities.

2.     Be in good academic standing with a GPA of 2.67 or higher (B- Average).

3.     Be a high school junior or senior participant of UB (apply as a sophomore or junior).

4.     Can commit for one summer and the following academic year (June-June).

5.     Can develop positive relationships with students from diverse backgrounds.

6.     Have a strong desire to help other students attain academic and career goals.

7.     Can maintain an appropriate conduct with other students.

8.     Can keep personal information confidential.

9.     Adheres to Upward Bound Rules and Policies.

How can I become a Peer Coach?

You can begin the process by reading the Peer Coach Job Description below. If you feel like you qualify and can handle the responsibility required, complete the online application. This is a great leadership opportunity to put on your list of activities for college applications!

Applications for Peer Coaching Summer 2023 are now open! Peer Coach training will be June 17 to June 23. Peer Coaches will have to go home June 23 and then come back for the regular summer session on July 5.

Click here to apply

Peer Coach Job Description

Peer Coach Job Description.pdf

Peer Coaching Handbook

Below is a link to the Upward Bound Peer Coaching Handbook for reference.

Upward Bound Peer Coaching Handbook.pdf

If you have been asked to complete any of the following forms, you may download them below and complete digitally or print. The quickest and easiest way to turn them in is to take photos and email to

2023 – 2024 Parent Student Contract

Inclusivity Rooming Plan for UB Participants 2023

Permission Slip Personal Vehicle 2023-2024.pdf

Acceptable Use of IT Resources for UB Students

College Cost Calculator (For UB Seniors going to college)
This is a great tool to figure out if your college financial aid covers everything! Fill out and send over for us to review.


Meet Our Students

Scroll through to view what current and graduated high school students say about us!
Portrait of high school student, Daya Cabra-Stammler
Meet Ruben
Senior, Stevens Point Area Senior High

“Upward Bound has helped me prepare for college by offering many tours to different colleges around Wisconsin. During the summer session, we got a lot of information about what college is like and how we can be successful.”

Portrait of high school student, Elisha Schmidt
Meet Elisha
Junior, Waupaca High School

“I joined Upward Bound because I wanted to meet people who are interested in the same things as I am. The best part is meeting new people and experiencing new things.”

Portrait of high school student, Po Thao.
Meet Po
Junior, Lincoln High School, Wisconsin Rapids

“Upward Bound is an experience of a lifetime, a core memory. It will help you through your journey when older.”

A student smiling while doing their homework.
Meet Joe
Upward Bound Graduate ’23, Current Freshman at St. Norbert College

“Upward Bound has helped me prepare for college by helping me construct my college essay. The staff is fun, energetic, comforting, and easy to relate to.”

Portrait of Upward Bound graduate, Lou.
Meet Lou
Upward Bound Graduate ’22, Current Sophomore at Viterbo University

“The Upward Bound staff are incredibly helpful. You can ask them anything and they’re always ready to aid when necessary. The program has inspired me to do better.”

A student assisting another student with dissecting a pig.
Meet Angelina
Upward Bound Graduate ’23

“Applying to Upward Bound is one of the best decisions you could make. The staff are super friendly and welcoming.”

Portrait of Upward Bound graduate, Samantha
Meet Samantha
Upward Bound Graduate ’21, Current Sophomore at Ripon College

“Upward Bound isn’t just a great opportunity to prepare you for college. You also get to make friends and have a lot of fun!”

Portrait of Upward Bound graduate, Matthew
Meet Matthew
Upward Bound Graduate ’22, Current Sophomore at UW-Milwaukee

“Upward Bound helped tremendously by offering me free tutoring services along with summer classes to prepare me for my upcoming school year. It’s an opportunity worth taking.”

Portrait of Upward Bound graduate, Lilly
Meet Lilly
Upward Bound Graduate ’22, Current Sophomore at UW-Platteville

“Upward Bound has helped me to prepare for college by letting me experience college life in the dorms. They also helped teach me different ways I can pay for college.”

previous slide
next slide

Upcoming Events and Activities

for Current Upward Bound Students

UWSP Campus

2023 Fall Workshop

October 27th – October 28th

Join us for a fun weekend of scheduled academic, career, and college readiness activities. This event is required for all Upward Bound students.
UW-Whitewater & UW-Madison

2023 Fall College Visit

October 3rd – October 4th

This event is OPTIONAL. You may register online at and scroll down to “Upcoming Events.” Priority is given to Juniors and Undecided Seniors. Capped at 20 students! First come, first serve so register TODAY!
School Visit Information

2023 September School Visit Calendar

Our Academic Coordinator visits the high schools once a month, view the calendar to see which day she will be at your school.

Upward Bound Staff

View Profiles to Schedule a Meeting*

*Meetings only available with Pa Chee Thao.
Headshot of Judy Young, Upward Bound Director.

Judy Young

  • Upward Bound Director
Upward Bound Program
Headshot of Pa Chee Thao, Interim Upward Bound Academic Coordinator.

Pa Chee Thao

  • Upward Bound Academic Coordinator
Upward Bound Program
Headshot of Cindy Jordan, Upward Bound Administrative Assistant.

Cindy Jordan

  • Upward Bound Administrative Assistant
Upward Bound Program