This summer at Fresno City College (FCC), Upward Bound adds four new features in the program to better prepare high school students for higher education. This six-week program is an important component of the federally funded TRiO program because it is dedicated to making the college transition easier for 35 to 40 high school students from the Fresno Unified School District through academic presentations and skills workshops each summer.
New elements include campus internships for high school seniors, five-week high school enrichment college courses, visits to multiple universities throughout California, and a week to experience dorm life. The college courses include Photography 5, Counseling 48, and Health Science 100. The program is free to students who qualify and provides bus tokens for transportation assistance.
This summer’s component began June 10 and ends July 19. A special banquet will be held at the end of the program to congratulate the high school students for completing their college courses and to recognize graduating seniors.
Upward Bound requires that participants are first generation college students. They will be the first in their family to achieve a higher education. The new additions to the summer program are not only educational but also elevate the students’ perception of success due to individual guidance. “We want the students to be exposed to professionalism and opportunities outside Fresno to help them expand their personal perspective on academic and career options,” said Ben Reynoso, director of FCC’s TRiO programs which includes Upward Bound.
According to Reynoso, the program has a big impact on the participants’ decision to pursue a college degree with 95 percent of high school seniors in Upward Bound attending college after graduation. “Giving students the individual support and mentorship they need from us as a team throughout high school inspires them to do even more to succeed. Our connection shows them that transferring from a community college, such as FCC, is a viable option,” Reynoso explains.
Pachia Vang is a graduating senior from Edison High School and has participated in Upward Bound for four years. Upward Bound has changed her life by providing a place to rely on for academic support to build confidence in her success after high school. “I definitely recommend for anyone to try Upward Bound,” shares Vang. “It helped me with my social skills. When we came together during an exercise to talk about our individual struggles, I became stronger which helped me at home and at school, also to learn about new opportunities. So I’m ready for college.” Vang is pursuing a Digital Arts career and will be attending Fresno State in fall 2019.
Students can apply for Upward Bound through recommendations from their high school counselors. Qualified students must be first generation, low income, have at least a 3.0 GPA and currently attend Hoover, Roosevelt, McLane, Fresno or Edison high schools.