Upward Bound | Mount St. Joseph University

Preparing Students for Collegiate Success and Beyond

"A mind that remains in the present atmosphere never undergoes sufficient development to experience what is commonly known as thinking." -Carter G. Woodson

The Path to Higher Education

Upward Bound is a pre-college program designed to prepare high school students attending Cincinnati Public schools, for university success by providing them with essential skills in the areas of academic enrichment, personal development, career exploration, and cultural exposure. For  Mount St. Joseph University's Upward Bound Program is a federal TRIO program funded by the U.S.. Department of Education and the Mount. The program receives 95 percent of its funding from the U.S.. Department of Education and five percent from Mount St. Joseph University.

Who is eligible to participate in Upward Bound Program?

The Mount's Upward Bound program serves students in grades 9-12 living in the Cincinnati Public School District. Students possessing a minimum set grade point average may enter the program during their freshman or sophomore year, and continue their membership throughout high school. The program requires students to commit to participating both during the academic year as well as the Summer Academy.

Upward Bound’s target population encompasses those students who are least likely to take advantage of higher education due to economic and information barriers. Two-thirds of Upward Bound members are from low income families and/or families whose heads of household do not possess a baccalaureate degree (first generation university student).

Application Process

All students and their parents/guardians must complete an application, submit a copy of their most recent transcript and include appropriate documentation for income verification (e.g.. 1040 Tax Form, Food Stamp eligibility). Once a student is determined to be eligible for the program, an interview is conducted with the child and his/her guardian/parent if there is an opening in the program. All students must have a demonstrated need for the resources provided by the program. Academic potential coupled with a desire to improve academically and attend university are the primary criteria for acceptance into the program.

What does Upward Bound offer?

Upward Bound provides academic and interpersonal support to participants throughout their high school career. Upward Bound offers a 35-week Academic year and a six-week residential summer component (Summer Academy). During the summer component rising seniors (pre-12th grade students) participate in a career/service internship, while graduating seniors enroll in up to two 3-credit university course at the Mount which is transferable to any post-secondary institution they choose to attend. Additional information on both the academic and summer components of Upward Bound can be viewed by clicking on one of the links listed below.

For more information, contact:

Phone: (513) 244-4214

Becoming an MSJ Upward Bound Achiever

Student Participant Eligibility:

Prospective MSJ Upward Bound students must meet the following criteria:

  • First-Generation University Student (neither of your parents have a baccalaureate degree)- Or
  • Low-Income (as defined by the federal government according to your parent's taxable income)- Or
  • First-Generation and Low income
  • Possess a minimum 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale (9th grade, 10th-11th incoming students must possess a higher GPA)
  • Possess the desire to attend university and improve current academic skills

Mentors - Counselors

Program Objectives

Upward Bound is a federally funded educational opportunity program designed to assist identified high school students with academic potential to complete secondary school and to enroll in a program of higher education. During the school year, Upward Bound staff visits the students at their high schools once a month/quarterly. The students meet on campus 1-2 Saturdays a month for academic, career explorations, university preparation, and social development activities.

The Summer Academy is a six-week residential component designed to simulate the university experience. During this component, the students live on campus in residence halls. They take classes to improve their skills in science, math and language arts; they also enroll in a variety of elective type course work and computers. Social and cultural events, as well as group living, round out the total summer experience.

If you are hired as a Summer Academy mentor, you will be required to aid in reaching the objectives of this program.

  1. To instill in Upward Bound students a positive attitude toward learning and postsecondary education.
  2. To increase students' ability to relate to their peer group by development of a sense of personal worth.
  3. To expose the students to new academic, social and cultural learning experiences.
  4. To provide remedial help to individual students when necessary.
  5. To help the students increase their understanding of and ability to cope with their environment.

Job Description

  1. Establish rapport with each student assigned to you (approximately 8-10 students will be assigned to you).
  2. Participate in all activities during Summer Academy.
  3. Supervise students on trips.
  4. Identify students' problem areas and refer them to UB Staff.
  5. Enforce Residence Hall and program rules consistently.
  6. Know where your students are at all times and be accessible to them.
  7. Attend all Mentor general meetings with the head resident or director.
  8. Report any serious infraction (drugs, alcohol, or sexual conduct) so an Upward Bound staff member may begin working with the student(s) involved.
  9. Wake your students in the morning for classes.
  10. Conduct a bed check each night and enforce the "lights out" rule.
  11. Work with several UB instructors as tutors for their students.


As with any job, certain restrictions apply.

  1. You may not date Upward Bound students or other program staff.
  2. You may not leave campus without arranging for adequate coverage of your students.
  3. You may not bring friends or dates to Upward Bound activities.

The Academic Component

During the academic school year, Upward Bound provides bi-weekly academic assistance (tutoring) for all participants at The Hamilton County Main Branch library. On designated Saturdays every month, students participate in Saturday Academy sessions to attend workshops on such topics as:

  • ACT/SAT test preparation
  • Math/English skills
  • University admissions process
  • Financial Aid
  • Career Exploration
  • Study Skills

In addition to workshops and cultural events, Upward Bound students receive opportunities to visit college/university campuses throughout Greater Cincinnati, and in other parts of the region. Students who successfully attend these activities will receive a monthly stipend for their participation.

Summer Academy

Summer Academy is a six-week university immersion experience taking place on the campus of Mount St. Joseph University. During Summer Academy, Upward Bound students live in campus housing and attend academic classes in the areas of math, composition, foreign language, and science designed to reinforce their current skills and prepare them for the next academic year’s curriculum. Additionally, rising seniors (pre-12th grade students) may participate in a career/service internship, while graduating seniors enroll in up to two 3-credit university courses at the Mount which are transferable to any post-secondary school they choose to attend. Students return home on the weekends and receive a weekly stipend for successful completion of the weekly activities offered.

Students also participate in a variety of workshops emphasizing such topics as academic skill enhancement, study skills development and career exploration and university preparation. Additionally, rising seniors receive an opportunity to participate in paid career-exploration (work-study) internships.

Summer Academy's primary objectives are to develop the academic, study, community engagement, and self-discipline skills within students which are necessary for successful scholarship at both the high school and university levels. Upward Bound achieves these goals by creating a summer program centered on academic rigor, intellectual stimulation and student empowerment which in turns, fosters a solid peer community of support. Beyond attaining these goals, students also participate in many off-campus, recreational field trips and university tours in the Greater Cincinnati area and the region. The culmination of the Summer Academy component is a university exploration/educational trip involving travel outside of the Greater Cincinnati area for approximately 3-5 days.