Parent Involvement

Parents/guardians are essential to the Upward Bound (UB) Program. We encourage parents to:

  • Join our UB Parents Remind group
  • Reinforce and encourage students to follow program guidelines 
  • Attend family meetings regularly 
  • Support and encourage participation in both the school year and summer program
  • Provide an environment conducive to productive learning

As a parent/guardian, you play a crucial role in your student's success. We have found that parents/guardians who support their students in the following ways have had a significant impact on their student's progress in the program:

  • Whenever possible, honor your child's commitment to the program by avoiding scheduling activities that conflict with UB activities.
  • Provide or help arrange transportation for your student to attend study sessions and other events.
  • Remind your student of their commitment to the program when they present another activity that may conflict.
  • If your student cannot attend an event, communicate that to program staff (or encourage your student to) promptly.
  • Provide updated contact information for both you and your student.
  • Attend events that are open to parents/guardians with your student whenever you are able! Your attendance sends the message, "this is important and valuable."

Parent resources

Purpose: Resources about preparing and helping your child transition into college 

Why College? Q&A

  • You’ll gain a greater understanding and skills to help you be successful in our ever-changing world. 
  • College enables you to: 
    • Expand your knowledge, skills and network
    • Express your thoughts clearly verbally and in writing
    • Enhance critical thinking and transferable skills
    • Learn abstract concepts and theories 
    • Increase your cultural competency and understanding of the world and your community 
    • Gain more financial security
  • You’ll have a greater range and number of job opportunities. More and more jobs require education beyond high school. College graduates have more jobs to choose from than those who don’t pursue education beyond high school. 
  • You’ll earn more money. A person who goes to college usually earns more than a person who doesn’t. According to the Census Bureau, high school graduates earn an average of $1.2 million. Associate's degree holders earn about $1.6 million, earning them $400,000 more than someone with just a high school diploma.

Planning for college: ten steps

  1. Save money as early as possible to help pay for students education.
  2. Encourage students to make high school count, preparing academically for higher education. 
  3. Discuss with students their skills and interests, career options and schools they are interested in attending. 
  4. Meet with the high school guidance counselor and UB academic counselor to determine what schools match students academic abilities. 
  5. Gather information about the schools students are interested in attending, including information on financial aid. 
  6. Encourage students to attend college campus visits and come prepared with a list of questions. 
  7. Help students apply for admission to the colleges of their choice. To apply for financial aid, help them complete the FAFSA. 
  8. Consider scholarships, grants and work-study programs. Complete any necessary applications or forms and submit them before the deadline. 
  9. Consider loan programs available to you and your child. 
  10. Learn more about tax credits, deductions and other considerations for education expenses. 

Reach out to any member of the UB team if you need help along the way. 

Tips for talking to your teen about college

Having conversations about college with students during high school can help you both release anxiety and reflect on the transition from high school to college. As a first-generation college student's parent, it might be overwhelming to get the conversation started. Start by exploring which colleges students are interested in and why they are interested in those colleges. As you have conversations with students, you can discuss potential college options. When looking for colleges, consider cost, distance, academics and social life. Upward Bound is here to support you in easing these conversations and preparing for college, so refer your student to the Upward Bound team for help with these conversations.

Many first-generation students might feel guilty about attending college, especially if they are attending a college farther away from their families. As a parent/guardian, it’s important to attempt to eliminate that guilt by reminding your student that attending college is meaningful and a valuable experience. 

Often, attending college can feel intimidating for first-generation college students. The experience is unfamiliar to them, and sometimes other students may cause them to feel less confident in themselves. If you encourage students and demonstrate that you have confidence that they will be successful, it has the potential to enhance the confidence they have in themselves upon entering college. 

Reminding your students that you are proud of them, you understand that applying to college can be tough and that you are here to support them are all key factors in your student success.

Make the most of campus visits 

We want our UB scholars to make the most of participating in college tours. Encourage students to come prepared by researching the college, writing out questions they may have and bringing a notebook to write down any relevant information and aspects of campus that stood out to them. 

Check out our events page to learn more about our upcoming college visits.

College visit tips

  • Start planning early. Many schools have schedules of their tours on their websites. Find a date that works for both you and your student, then start planning your route there. 
  • Know what to expect from an in-person and/or virtual tour.
  • Establish a budget for college visits. Encourage students to attend our free college visits. 
  • Check out campuses nearby.
  • Learn about the local community when visiting so you know what is available for students when they aren’t attending classes.
  • Get student perspectives. Current college students can provide great insight about their experience on campus, so be sure to speak with them while you are visiting colleges if you can. 
  • Explore academic departments. Learn more about what classes and/or departments your student is interested in. 
  • Visit a dining hall or student center. Visiting a dining hall will give you the opportunity to sample the food on campus. Student centers will help you explore college life. 
  • Ask about campus safety.

Myths about college

  • It’s better to get good grades than take challenging courses. 
    • Small successes in taking an advanced or accelerated course can help colleges assess that you can handle challenging courses similar to ones you’ll find in college. A challenging college preparatory program or some advanced placement courses will help you get into more selective colleges. 
  • Standardized tests are more important than your high school grades.
    • Colleges are aware that performance in high school is a better predictor of college success than standardized tests. When applying to competitive state institutions with a lot more applicants, admissions offices will assess scores more closely to determine if you are eligible. 
  • You need to decide on a career before choosing a college.
    • College is the time to explore. You can choose a major in sophomore year and still complete the degree in four years. Don’t pressure yourself into deciding on a major field or career before choosing a college; you have time, so take your time.
  • Only well-known colleges are good.
    • It is possible to be unfamiliar with the nation’s finest colleges until you are well into your adult life. Athletic programs are a big part of how colleges get exposure, but many great colleges do not get that kind of media attention. Be sure to judge a college on its merit. Try not to use name recognition to judge whether the college is good or not. 
  • Participating in many extracurricular activities will compensate for poor grades.
    • Although colleges look at out-of-class activities (like sports, student government and music) when they review applications, they look at your academic performance first. A lot of extracurricular class activities will help only if the college believes you can handle the level of academic rigor at the college level.
  • You should go to the most prestigious college to which you are admitted. 
    • You need to go to a college that “fits” you the best. Fit means how you feel when you are on campus. When thinking about fit, think about how you learn, class sizes, different teaching styles, along with the level of academic rigor you can handle. If the college isn’t a good match, you will be unhappy regardless of the prestige. 
  • College is for only four years.
    • Only about one of five students complete college in four years. Only two of five students complete college in six years. If you plan to be out of college in four years, learn what each college’s four-year graduation rate is. 
  • You have to take only the minimum college prep courses to get into college.
    • The more mathematics, science and languages you take, the better your chances of getting into a good four-year college.
  • You will have a better chance of getting into professional or graduate school if you go to a university that offers these graduate programs. 
    • Very few universities give their students special preference for graduate study and those that do reserve it for only the very best students. Regardless of where you attend, there are no guarantees. 
  • You have to be the perfect student to be accepted into a good college.
    • Find the colleges that really fit you (including those reach schools) and apply, because you never know what will happen until you do.
  • The senior year of high school does not matter.
    • Granted, a slight dip in your second-semester grades probably will not hurt, but anything more will raise a red flag. Just ask the high school seniors who lost their acceptances because they let their GPA plummet or because they got into other kinds of trouble (like academic probation for cheating because they couldn’t be bothered to study). Don’t let that happen to you.
  • College classes are just like high school classes. 
    • Your classes and teachers will ask more of you — more in-depth research, more analysis, more time, more effort — than they did in high school. Plus, you’ve got tons of extracurriculars and social events pulling at your attention. And you are basically on your own for staying on top of it all. 

Paying for college

College can be costly. Every college or university determines its cost of attendance — the average cost of being at college for the academic year. In addition to tuition, housing and college fees, you'll need to consider books, food and transportation costs. Students fund college through various sources of funding (grants, loans, scholarships, work-study). 

  • One of the first steps to obtaining money for college is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA is processed through the Department of Education and determines your student’s eligibility for federal student aid. Then, the financial aid office at the student’s college determines how much additional financial aid the student will receive in the form of grants, scholarships and loans.  
  • You will also want to apply to the New York State (NYS) Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) which helps eligible New York residents pay tuition at approved schools in N. Y. state.
  • Federal work-study gives students the opportunity to earn money through part-time employment on campus. If you see work-study appear on your student's bill, your student can apply for and interview for work-study positions on campus. 
  • Scholarships are sources of funding that, typically, do not have to be repaid. See our scholarships list for scholarships that you may want to apply for!

Campus resources to connect with

Once students starts college, connecting with campus resources is vital for their success. It will vary between campuses, but there are many resources to ensure students get the most out of their academic experience. Upward Bound highly encourages our students to explore the following resources. 

  • Academic advising
    • Academic advising offices have academic advisors that help students select courses, explore majors and develop a degree plan that enables them to discover and meet their educational and personal goals during their college career.  
  • Writing center
    • Whether creative, research-based, expository or journalistic, writing centers are located on college campuses to help students strengthen their writing skills. 
  • Tutoring services/academic coaching 
    • Tutoring services have peer tutors that support college students in building concrete skills and complete classwork such as essay revisions, writing with the audience and purpose in mind, developing a thesis, developing presentations, etc. 
    • These offices often also provide academic coaches that help students examine academic concerns and perceived barriers to success. Coaches provide individual semester-long support, assess the student’s strengths and weaknesses, and create a personalized plan of action in areas such as time management, procrastination, test preparation and note taking.
  • Teaching assistants (TAs)
    • A TA is typically a graduate or undergraduate student who assists a professor with instructional responsibilities. A TA often assists the professor with creating and delivering learning materials in a course. TAs may help develop assignments, quizzes and exams to meet a course's objectives.
    • TAs will help students understand concepts and theories to the best of their abilities, but they will not simply provide direct answers to assignment questions or complete students’ homework. 
    • Office hours are extra hours with professors or TAs to help students better understand concepts and work on weaker areas. As a new college student, office hours are a great way to connect with a professor if you are struggling in their course. Be sure to prepare for office hours by bringing questions about the class content you are struggling with.

  • Mental health services/counseling center
    • A counseling center offers mental health services such as one-on-one or group counseling sessions to students who benefit from these services. A mental health counselor provides support to students experiencing mental or emotional distress. Counselors may use various therapeutic techniques to help a person manage anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions. Worldwide, around 1 in 5 people have a mental health condition.
  • Career center/services
    • Typically located on college campuses, these centers are specifically designed to assist students with honing their job search skills, identifying and working toward career goals, finding suitable careers for graduate school programs, getting referrals to employers, and boosting networking skills.

Finding your fit: getting involved on campus

The college experience is so much more than just attending classes. As high school students, you may have been involved in extracurricular activities like sports, honor societies or volunteering with UB. In college, it’s also very important for students to get involved in similar activities. From culturally-based student organizations to athletic teams, co-curricular activities are instrumental for students to develop transferable skills such as leadership, collaboration, communication and critical thinking. Encourage student to get involved in the following opportunities and embrace all aspects of their identities. 

    • Mentor programs 
      • Mentor programs look different across college campuses. Sometimes mentors are peers, faculty members or college staff. Despite these differences, one aspect remains the same: mentors can support college students with navigating college life. Look to them when you are facing challenges or need insight about obtaining a job or internship, exploring volunteer opportunities, learning about scheduling classes and professors, or anything related to your college experience.
    • Multicultural student organizations 
      • Multicultural student organizations provide the opportunity for students to connect with other students who share similar experiences and identities as them. Understanding how their identity as first-generation college students shapes them and intersects with other identities is crucial in students' development.  
      • Some examples include: 
        • African Student Organization
        • Asian Student Union
        • Black Student Union
        • Caribbean Student Union
        • Hindu Student Council
  • Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
    • EOP is a counseling and academic support program designed to help low-income and first-generation college students succeed in college. This program provides capable students who might not have the same resources or social privileges as their peers the support they need to succeed in college. EOP includes a summer bridge program to prepare incoming first-year students for college, offering mentorship, one-on-one advising, tutoring and more. When applying to college, see if EOP is offered at the colleges of your choice, and be sure to consider applying to EOP. Academic eligibility varies between each campus, so pay close attention to eligibility requirements.
  • TRIO — Student Support Services (SSS)
    • SSS is a national TRIO Program that promotes academic success and personal growth for first-generation students, income-eligible students and students with disabilities. SSS programs support these students in achieving their goals and enriching their college experience. Some services include tutoring and academic advising. 
  • TRIO — McNair Scholars Program
    • The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair Scholars Program) is another TRIO Program. The McNair Program helps students interested in research and attending graduate school reach their goals. Some services they offer include: connecting students to research experiences with faculty, opportunities to present research and assistance with graduate school applications. 
  • Volunteer opportunities
    • Volunteering is a great way to connect to the local community, meet other college students and work alongside faculty and staff outside of their offices and the classroom. Think about areas of interest and get involved! Some volunteering opportunities to consider are youth organizations, campus events, tutoring services, charity and fundraising events, and animal rescues.  
    • Students should locate a career center or community/civic engagement center to find out more about getting involved and volunteering. 

Many students enter college as one of the only students from their high school. Assure students that it’s normal to come to college without knowing anyone. Encourage students to put themselves out there and use their time at college to bond with their roommates and classmates. Making friends and connecting to co-curricular activities helps students expand their network and create a support system.