Castleton Upward Bound Request for Membership

What is Upward Bound?

Upward Bound is a college preparation program based at Castleton University and funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Our goal is to prepare and encourage students with high academic ability and potential to increase their knowledge and skills, improve study habits, and achieve self-discipline while developing the attitude and motivation necessary for success in high school and college.

What commitments must I make?

You should be willing to actively participate in both the academic year and summer residential components of the Upward Bound program until graduation from high school. You will also need to agree to follow a "college track" at your school, which will require you to take a math, science, and English class each year until you graduate. 

Academic Year (October through May)

During the academic year, you will be responsible for attending a Saturday Session each month on Castleton’s campus.  These sessions will be designed to improve your appreciation of learning while increasing your academic knowledge and skills in the areas of math, science, English, and SAT preparation. Free tutoring may also be provided to assist you in academic areas where you might be experiencing difficulties. You will begin setting personal, academic, and career goals that include planning for college, study skills development, test preparation, and career exploration. Opportunities to visit college campuses, participate in cultural activities and field trips, and attend special events will also be a part of your academic year experience. 

Summer Residential Program (June through July)

The summer residential program is an academically intensive six-week program that will provide you with unique opportunities to experience a wide range of educational, personal development, and social activities. You will live in a residence hall on Castleton’s campus and will attend academic classes in science, English, math, foreign language, and other exciting subjects. Starting with your second summer at Upward Bound, you will have an opportunity to participate in an internship experience where you can learn more about what you’d like your career to be. You will experience personal development workshops, creative activities, supportive mentor groups, game nights, a talent show, an awards ceremony, and so much more. You will also attend an exciting college tour trip during the last week of the summer program. You will go home each Friday afternoon and return to Castleton on Sunday evenings. 

Does Upward Bound cost anything to join?

Upward Bound is FREE of cost. This includes but is not limited to: tutoring sessions, classroom instruction, books, supplies, field trips, and room and board costs during the six-week summer residential program. A small stipend check will also be given to each student on a regular basis. Criteria for receiving the stipend are full participation in all Upward Bound activities and good standing within the program.

What makes me eligible for membership?         

  1. A desire to attend a college or university and a willingness to do whatever it takes to make this dream come true;
  2. A definable academic or personal development need for the program (i.e. a challenging academic environment, tutoring, career exploration, study skills, social skills, goal setting, motivation, and encouragement);
  3. Not completed pre-algebra, algebra or geometry by the end of 8th grade and/or not enrolled in algebra or geometry in 9th grade;
  4. Classification as a high school freshman (9th) or sophomore (10th). Priority is given to freshmen;
  5. The willingness to make a long-term commitment to the program. You are expected to remain involved until your graduation from high school;
  6. Demonstration of high academic ability and/or potential;
  7. Ability to secure transportation to all required academic year Saturday sessions and summer sessions at Castleton (Upward Bound will do as much as possible to help organize carpools, etc.);
  8. A level of maturity and independence that will allow you to live away from home for six weeks during the summer residential program on Castleton’s campus;
  9. You MUST meet at least one of the two criteria below to be eligible for membership:
  • Be a potential first-generation college student. A student is considered first generation if neither parent or guardian with whom the student lives has not completed a four-year college degree;
  • The student’s family meets federal income guidelines. The guidelines look at both the "taxable income”"(Line 43 on the IRS 1040,  line 6 on the 1040EZ, line 27 on the 1040A form) of the parent/guardian that the student currently lives with, and the number of people in the household.
  • Any student applicant that is currently in foster care is automatically income eligible.

How do I apply?

If you are willing to make the commitments necessary to be a member of Upward Bound and want to put forth the effort necessary to prepare for college, you should complete the following Request for Membership. Follow the instructions closely and go to your school counselor or call the Upward Bound office if you have any questions. The Request for Membership must be completed no later than one week from the date of your in-school presentation.


  1. Most of the application can be completed online with the help of a parent or guardian. Make sure you have 20-30 minutes to complete the entire application together. You may save and go back if you don't complete it at one sitting; you will receive an email with a link to continue your application. However, your application will be considered incomplete until you complete it in its entirety and submit it.
  2. You will need your household's 2016 federal income tax forms to complete the financial section. Get these out BEFORE you begin. If your family did not file taxes, or you are in foster care or a ward of the court, you don't need the tax forms.
  3. You and your parent/guardian will have to physically sign the Release of Information and Statements of Agreement form, which you received at our presentation, can pick it up from your guidance office, or can download.
  4. Your teacher recommendations need to be completed online. Make sure you give them the recommendation form with a link to the online form ( You received this at our presentation, can pick it up in the guidance office, or can be found online.