About UH Hilo Upward Bound

UH Hilo Home > Academics > Upward Bound

Q1: What is Upward Bound?

Upward Bound is a federally funded program that prepares high school students to enter and succeed in college. Throughout the Academic Year, students receive instruction and encouragement to develop their academic and personal skills. Students also receive help developing their college and career plans and participate in exciting cultural activities and experiences.  During the Summer, invited students participate in our Summer Academy Program where they live and learn on the University of Hawaii at Hilo Campus for five to six weeks.

Q2: Who is eligible to participate?

Student must:

  • be a graduated 8th grader, or freshman, or sophomore, or 1st semester junior at the time of admission
  • be a U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident of the U.S.
  • show the potential and motivation to be successful in education beyond high school

AND ONE or BOTH of the following:

  • be of low income according to guidelines established by the federal government
  • student's parents must not have earned a recognized bachelor's degree.

Upward Bound also serves middle schools with an 8th and/ or 9th grade that will send students to one of the high schools we serve, following completion of either the 8th grade or 9th grade.

*Please see your school counselors to obtain an Upward Bound Pre-Application

Q3: Which High Schools do we serve?

  • Hilo
  • Honokaa
  • Kau
  • Keaau
  • Kealakehe
  • Konawaena
  • Pahoa
  • Waiakea

Q4: Admissions Process: How do I become a UB student?

Step 1: Complete the Upward Bound Pre-Application (see your school counselor) and turn it in to your school counselor or mail it in to the Upward Bound Office.

Step 2: If the student meets eligibility requirements, an invitation will be sent to the student and their parent to attend an Information Session. Both the student and a Parent must attend the Information Session. At the conclusion of the Information Session if the student is interested in joining Upward Bound, he/she will be given the Full Application.

Step 3: Once all the required documents are completely submitted, the student’s participation and performance will be monitored during the 60-day provisional period. If the student successfully completes the 60-day provisional period he/she will be awarded permanent admission into the Program with increased opportunities (ie. off-island events, etc.)


Q5: When does the enrollment period begin and end?

Upward Bound accepts applications throughout the Academic Year, and admits applicants as openings occur.  Applications and all required documents must be received by the end of March to be given consideration for the Summer Academy Program.

Q6: How are students selected?

Students are selected based on academic need, motivation to pursue a bachelor degree, and willingness to commit to a challenging college preparatory program.

Q7: When are new program participants required to begin?

Students can be admitted through the academic year.  Summer Academy students must begin the first day of summer class (usually in June) and must attend through July.

Q8: What if an acceptance letter was not received?

Every applicant will receive either an “acceptance letter,” a “non-acceptance letter” or a letter stating the student is on a waiting list. However, we have no control over the postal service, so if you don't hear from us... don't hesitate to call our office.

Q9: What are the program’s expectations of participating students?

  • Motivation:  The student must demonstrate the desire and willingness to work in preparation to be successful in college.  Desire and willingness is demonstrated by a good faith effort to earn good grades in high school classes, especially core college preparatory classes.  Your strong will and the choice you make will carry you successfully to the goals you choose.
  • Commitment:  The Program and every staff member will commit 100 % effort to support the student.  In turn, the student must make the Program a priority by showing 100% commitment and involvement in program activities.  The more you put in, the more you will get out of this Program – just another way of saying you get what you earn. 
  • Persistence: The student must be willing to work consistently to accomplish her/his academic goals.  Persistence will overcome nearly any barrier.  Persistence, more than brilliance, has the power to produce excellence. 
  • Enthusiasm:  The intent of the Program is to help the student explore new areas and become more excited about learning.  With so many new discoveries in the world and so many exciting opportunities, a student should have no trouble maintaining enthusiasm while learning.  Remember, enthusiasm is infectious.  If you are excited about what you are doing, other will also become excited and be willing to work with you.
  • Follow Through:  The program attempts to help the student master her/himself, and thereby master the environment.  Developing good learning habits, meeting timelines, fulfilling one’s obligations, provides the control each person desires over her/his own life.  Doing the things on must in an efficient and timely manner produces greater freedom to do the things ones like.

Q10: What can my student expect from Upward Bound?

  • College Exploration
  • Tutoring
  • Advising
  • Financial Aid Guidance
  • Career Exploration
  • Community Service Opportunities
  • Summer Campus Living Experience

During the Academic Year, students are provided:

  • tutoring and academic advising
  • college planning and preparation
  • motivational and personal counseling
  • application fee waivers for college entrance exams and admission forms
  • self-esteem and team-building weekend camps
  • a College Tour
  • a scholarship award for high achievement
  • special activities at the University campus
  • leadership development
  • career explorations

During the Summer, students participate in:

  • special classes in writing, reading, mathematics, and science
  • dormitory accommodations on the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus
  • intensive tutoring and academic counseling
  • development of good study skills and habits
  • enrollment in college summer courses for high school seniors
  • cultural workshops and activities
  • field trips around the island
  • sports and other recreational activities
  • awards for outstanding achievement

Q11: What does it cost?

It's FREE!

If eligible, only your commitment is required. The program, including the summer program room and board, is offered at no cost!

Q12: How do I apply?

Please ensure that you qualify by filling out the Upward Bound Pre-Application (see your school counselors), and returning it to our office as soon as possible.