Classes meet every morning, Monday through Thursday for five weeks. Class sizes are small (no more than 15 students) so teachers can get to know their students, providing them with the help they need to succeed when they return to school in the fall. There are daily assignments to be completed outside of class, usually during the evening study time, and teachers are available for extra help (or an additional challenge!). Grades are not given, but teachers write a detailed evaluation of each student's performance over the summer which is sent to the student's family as well the high school.
English: To be successful in college, every student needs to have good writing skills. The English classes focus on the writing process, including creative and persuasive writing in the junior summer, and the college essay in the senior summer. All students study a Shakespeare play with readings in class and the opportunity to see it in a professional production at the Theater at Monmouth.
Math: The math program is self-paced. Students take a placement test at the start of the summer and work with the supervision of their math teacher to build skills in college prep math. Students come to Upward Bound at many different levels, from beginning Algebra all the way through Precalculus. We work with you to find your own challenge.
Science: Students who have finished their sophomore year generally complete an introductory Chemistry course to prepare them to take college preparatory Chemistry during their junior year. Those who have finished their junior year take two shorter courses over the summer, one in Physics and one in Microbiology. Both of these experiences help students succeed in laboratory science classes in their senior year.
Foreign Language: Since many colleges require incoming students to have studied a foreign language in high school, Upward Bound students chose either French or Spanish as part of the summer program. In addition to practice in the four basic foreign language skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking, students are exposed to the cultures of French and Spanish speaking regions.
Teaching Assistant Groups: Each summer, students are assigned to TA Groups, groups of 10-12 students who study together 5 evenings a week from 7-9 p.m. TA sessions are lead by a summer staff person, usually a college student, who is available to assist students with homework, study skills, etc. TA groupss are an important part of the summer program, providing support and friendship over the six weeks. The TA Olympics happen every year as a way for TA groups to get to know each other and compete for the coveted title "Best TA Group".
In the fourth week of the program, regular classes take a break for Focus Week. Each student chooses one course to be explored in intense study. Past Focus Week classes have included Outdoor Education, Drama, Psychology, Photography, Geology, Dance, & Creative Writing. Field trips happen often during Focus Week, and on Saturday, there is a show of all the interesting work that has been done over the course of the week.
"My first impression of the summer program was that it was going to be boring. I thought we wouldn't have a lot of fun but I was wrong. Now that I have been here, I would tell someone applying to Upward Bound that it is the best thing ever. It is so much fun, as well as helpful. I have learned so much!"