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Upward Bound

Are you an 8th grade or high school student with career goals that require a college degree? Let Upward Bound help you get there!

Upward Bound
(269) 927-8774
Lake Michigan College
2755 East Napier Avenue, B306
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022

With Upward Bound, you’ll get support for getting into college, one-on-one academic counseling, and more. You’ll visit colleges and places of historical and cultural interest with other ambitious students. And you’ll spend six weeks in the Upward Bound Summer Academic Institute preparing for the next school year.

Upward Bound students posing at an event.

What is Upward Bound?

The Upward Bound program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, supports participants to succeed in high school and prepare them for college. Upward Bound serves low-income, first-generation college-bound students with the skills and motivation necessary to complete high school, enroll in, and graduate from a post-secondary institution with a bachelor's degree within six years.

LMC Upward Bound staff at an event.

Mission Statement

Lake Michigan College's Upward Bound program provides scholars exceptional college preparatory services, emphasizing academic excellence, individual expression, and service to school and community. 

Upward Bound values community and believes scholars learn and grow through hard work in a supportive environment of open inquiry, trust, mutual respect, civility, and compassion. Scholars are encouraged to explore their talents and discover who they are as individuals. 

Upward Bound values diversity and assists scholars in acquiring the intellectual, technological, moral, physical, and social qualities needed to become successful citizens and community leaders. Upward Bound believes that each individual should be treated with dignity and respect and instills this belief in our scholars. 

Upward Bound students around the firepit at LMC's residence hall.

Upward Bound at LMC

Since 1995, the Upward Bound program at Lake Michigan College has provided college preparatory services to Benton Harbor High School students with the potential to become the first in their families to attend college and earn a bachelor's degree. 

Lake Michigan College's Upward Bound staff works with scholars and parents to offer essential services, support, and experiences all year long. By their senior year in high school, Upward Bound scholars are equipped with the skills, tools, support, and behaviors needed to graduate and succeed at their college of choice. 

Upward Bound students on a field trip.

Program Services

  • Academic advising
  • Academic advancement services
  • Tutoring
  • SAT/ACT preparation
  • College preparation sessions
  • College tours
  • Social and cultural visits
  • College and scholarship application workshops
  • Financial literacy workshops
  • Continuous academic monitoring and support
  • Upward Bound Summer Academic Institute, a six-week program to prepare students for the upcoming academic year and reduce "summer slide."

Academic Year

Academic Standards

  • Scholars are encouraged to maintain a "B" grade (or above) in all classes.
  • Scholars with grades below a "C" average may receive additional tutoring or study skills instruction to help improve grades.

Academic Advancement Services (Tutoring) 

  • Students receive homework help and weekly skills tutoring in academic courses, 3:30-5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday
  • Students are required to attend one AAS session each week

Saturday College Prep

One Saturday a month, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., students participate in college preparation, academic and social activities in a college setting.


  • Financial Literacy
  • College/Scholarship Applications
  • SAT/ACT preparation

Social & Cultural Experiences

During the academic year and UBSAI, scholars take educational trips to a variety of locations which may include (but are not limited to):

  • Colleges and universities
  • Museums and galleries
  • Businesses
  • Plays, musicals, and other theater productions

Summer Academic Institute

  • Upward Bound scholars participate in UBSAI for six weeks during the summer. 
  • Scholars receive instruction in mathematics, laboratory science, foreign language, composition, and literature. 
  • They also have the opportunity to attend the UBSAI College Tour at the end of the summer.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You are in grades 9-12 and attending Benton Harbor Area Schools district
  • One of the following:
    • meet income criteria as established by the U.S. Department of Education
    • come from a family in which neither parent has a bachelor's degree OR
    • have an academic need as defined by the U.S. Department of Education
  • You take the Lake Michigan College Placement Test.


If you are in grades 8-10, reach out to your counselor or Upward Bound at Lake Michigan College to apply. You can find an Upward Bound team member at your school or email us at

When should I apply? 

  • Students in grade 8 can apply during the Spring semester. You will begin the program the Summer before the first year of high school.
  • Students in grades 9-10 can apply during the Fall semester. You will begin the program upon acceptance. 

Welcome to senior year! This is both an exciting and a busy time! 


  • You should have your college applications in by October 31 during your senior year. This makes you eligible for the maximum amount of scholarship money and priority decision deadlines.
  • The Common App is a straightforward application for many schools. Create your account online.
  • IMPORTANT: Be sure to indicate that you are a TRIO Upward Bound participant in your Common App. This will waive most of your application fee costs. 
  • There is also a common application for Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the United States. There is a one-time fee of $20 to submit this application.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an application that determines your grant eligibility and enables you to take out loans (if necessary). The application opens on Oct. 1 and is required for all Upward Bound seniors. 

Senior Workshops

We will have various workshops throughout the year. Previous workshops have included: 

  • FAFSA night
  • Application night
  • Scholarship night
  • Student life in college
  • Next college steps
  • Making the college transition

What should my child be doing to prepare and stay on track? 

Grade 9: During freshman year it is important for students to plan out what courses they plan to take throughout their four years of high school. While this plan can be flexible, charting out classes helps ensure your student will fulfill the credits required for graduation. 

This is also a great time to explore ways to get involved in extracurricular activities such as school clubs, sports, or community service projects. Developing interests and participating in activities will benefit their college and scholarship applications later. 

Grade 10:  Sophomore year is a great time to start thinking about adding honors-level classes to a student's course plan. Additionally, students should start thinking about their interests and how those can be reflected in a career. Students can begin making a list of colleges they are interested in and why. This is also an excellent time for informal college visits. Keeping up with grades is crucial to building a solid GPA foundation this year. Students can also get a jump start on SAT prep by taking the PSATs.

Grade 11: Students should continue to consider taking challenging courses such as honors, A.P., and even dual credit classes. Students will take the SAT and or ACT in the Spring. Students should be studying and preparing for the SATs during the Fall and Winter. Because students will start college applications right away in the fall, students should take advantage of college visits to decide where they want to apply. Students should stay involved in extracurricular activities. Junior year is an excellent time for students to seek leadership opportunities in their school and community. Students can start keeping a list of volunteer activities, clubs, and leadership experiences they've had throughout high school. This list will come in handy when writing college essays.

What does it mean to be on Upward Bound Academic Probation?

Upward Bound students should strive to maintain a "B" or above in all of their classes. If a student's grades begin dropping, the U.B. Academic Programs Coordinator (ACP) will intervene to help the student create a plan to bring grades back up. We require students to have a 2.5 GPA. Students whose GPAs fall below 2.5 will be placed on academic probation. Students on probation are required to meet with the ACP. Students on Academic Probation should attend AAS more than once a week to improve grades. 

Learn more about our program components and student expectations in the Upward Bound Student Handbook.

Useful Links

Know How 2 Go: 4 Steps to College
Khan Academy SAT Prep

Upward Bound

Assists low-income, first-generation college-bound students enrolled at Benton Harbor High School in graduating high scho

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