Upward Bound

Launched in 1966 by Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s TRiO Upward Bound (UB) is one of the oldest and most successful college preparatory programs of its kind in the nation. Through intensive academic support and exposure to the college-going experience, Upward Bound equips South Bend high school students to enter and succeed in higher education. 

Academic Year Activities

Upward Bound offers students 20 weeks of individualized tutoring and instruction in core subjects during the school year.  Weekly instruction occurs in after-school academic enrichment sessions on the Notre Dame campus which are organized based on grade level and individual academic needs.  These sessions also utilize project-based learning to capture student interest—applying classroom knowledge to interesting and relevant, real-world problems. 

Students also receive academic advising and participate in weekly workshops, which combine to supply them with the skills and information needed to prepare for, apply to, and succeed in college—including effective study skills, SAT and ACT preparation, the college admissions process, as well as financial literacy and student aid. 

College tours and a variety of other activities are also offered to connect students to valuable cultural, educational, and career-focused events.  

Summer Academy

During the summer, Upward Bound participants receive academic instruction for up to seven weeks — earning high school credit for Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Chemistry, and U.S. Government. Students also receive instruction in foreign language, lab science, and language arts to prepare them for future success at both the secondary and post-secondary levels. 

For two of the seven weeks, students reside on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. This allows the students to have a mini college experience — living in the dorms, eating at the dining hall, and participating in many extracurricular on-campus activities. These activities include ice skating at the Compton Family Ice Arena, a tour of Notre Dame stadium, swimming at the Rockne Memorial, a bonfire on Holy Cross Hill, and more. The residential component gives students the opportunity to live and learn on a college campus: an invaluable experience as they prepare for higher education.

Additionally, recent Upward Bound high school graduates participate in summer “bridge,” programming designed to transition into college while supporting post-secondary success by providing students with the academic skills and social resources needed to succeed in a college environment. Thanks to partnerships with IUSB, as well as other local universities and colleges, selected Upward Bound seniors earn up to five college credits prior to their first semester of college.    

Target Schools

Notre Dame’s TRiO Upward Bound serves youth in grades 9–12 who attend the South Bend Community School Corporation (SBCSC) schools listed below. Upward Bound can also assist South Bend residents who attend other area schools as well.

Our focus is on selecting students who demonstrate a need and desire for academic support, as well as the potential to reach higher, dream bigger and expect more of themselves – as a result of their experiences in Upward Bound. 

The Upward Bound Impact

Since 1966, Notre Dame’s TRiO Upward Bound program has been essential to helping more than 2,000 local students prepare for, apply to, and succeed in college.  In the last four years alone, 100% of Upward Bound’s high school seniors graduated on time and 99.4% enrolled in college!

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