College Access Programs

There are many college access programs in Philadelphia and some of our high schools have College Access Programs within the school itself.

To learn more about each program please click on the links.

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)

GEAR UP is a discretionary grant program designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. GEAR UP provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at selected high schools.

Let’s Get Ready

Let’s Get Ready provides low-income high school students with free SAT preparation, admissions counseling and other support services needed to gain admission to and graduate from college. Services are provided by volunteer college students who also serve as role models and mentors.

Philadelphia Futures

Philadelphia Futures is a nonprofit organization that provides Philadelphia’s low-income, first-generation-to-college students with the tools, resources, and opportunities necessary for admission to and success in college. Philadelphia Futures also provides high schools with the Step Up To College Guide which is the premier college guidance resource for high school students and their families.

Steppingstone Scholars

Steppingstone Scholars works with families and school partners, to provide rigorous educational programming and support for talented under-served students in the Philadelphia Region to achieve academic success, opportunity, and a college degree. Their services are currently being provided at the following schools: McMichael Promise Academy, Dunbar Promise Academy, and Tanner Duckrey School.

The UPenn Upward Bound Program

The University of Pennsylvania High School Upward Bound Program is a college preparatory program designed to motivate and prepare students in the program for the successful pursuit of a four-year college education. The goal of the program is to increase the rate at which low-income, first-generation-to-college students enroll in and graduate from a college or university with a bachelor’s degree. In order to apply for this program, you must be entering the 9th or 10th grade at one of the following schools: Overbrook HS, Parkway-West HS, Sayre HS and West Philadelphia HS.

Temple University Upward Bound Program

The Temple University Upward Bound Program will prepare Philadelphia Public and Charter High School students for admission to institutions for higher learning and success in the collegiate environment through intense academic enrichment, a summer college immersion experience, enhanced cognitive and critical thinking, and extensive interpersonal development through positive social interactions. Applicants must be current 8th, 9th or 10th-grade students attending a Philadelphia public or charter high school.

Philadelphia Education Fund (PEF)

The College Access Program at Philadelphia Education Fund (PEF) can help you get READY, get SET and GO to college! They provide services to students at the following high schools:

Kensington Creating & Performing Arts HS, Furness HS, John Bartram HS, Roxborough HS and Olney Charter School.

Harcum College Upward Bound Program

The Harcum College Upward Bound Program is designed to help program participants overcome the educational, cultural and social barriers of society, and works to build and enhance the skills and motivation needed to enter and complete post-secondary education. In order to apply for this program, you must be a student at one of the following schools: John Bartram HS, Motivation HS and Communications and Technology HS.

Upward Bound at the Community College of Philadelphia

The goal of TRIO Upward Bound is to increase college enrollment and graduation rates for students from low-income households or from homes where neither parent has earned a bachelor’s degree. The program provides academic support, emotional encouragement and assistance with the college application and financial aid process as a means of overcoming social barriers to higher education. In order to apply, you must be entering 9th or 10th grade at one of the following high schools: Benjamin Franklin and South Philadelphia. You must either be the first person in your family to go to college and/or must qualify as low income by the U.S. Department of Education’s guidelines.

College Possible

College Possible Philadelphia provides an intensive curriculum that is tailored to students who are in their junior and senior years of high school. A defining feature of our program is persistence—we stay with our students until the completion of their college degree. Our high school curriculum is delivered via a near-peer model with an AmeriCorps service member serving as a coach. College Possible’s curriculum develops the mindset, knowledge, and skills necessary to be successful in completing post-secondary education.