College Knowledge Month Success


As October is coming to an end we wanted to share with all of our Upward Bound followers the great work that our TRIO seniors did this month. This past week has been “Free College Application Week” and our students have worked hard to apply to all the colleges and universities they are interested in- especially taking advantage of the free applications available at various Minnesota schools. Here is the impressive breakdown:

Total Number of seniors in Upward Bound: 34

Total number of Applications: 91

Where our Students Applied:  

St. Cloud State University: 15 Applications

Winona State University: 7 Applications

University of Minnesota Duluth: 6 Applications

Anoka Ramsey Community College: 5 Applications

University of Minnesota Twin Cities: 4 Applications

Minnesota State University Mankato: 4 Applications

College of St. Scholastica: 4 Applications

St. Thomas University: 4 Applications

Bemidji State University: 3 Applications

College of St. Benedict: 3 Applications

University of Wisconsin Superior: 3 Applications

Bethel University: 3 Applications

University of Wisconsin River Falls: 3 Applications

North Dakota State College of Science: 2 Applications

Hamline University: 2 Applications

St. Catherine University: 2 Applications

Augsburg College: 2 Applications

Anoka Technical College: 2 Applications

North Dakota State University: 2 Applications

St. Norbert College

Century College

Metro State

Northland Community College

St. Olaf College

Minnesota State University Moorhead

Itasca Community College

Vermillion Community College

Ridgewater Community College

Full Sail University

St. Cloud Technical and Community College

Auburn State

Concordia Moorhead

Alabama State

University of Wisconsin La Crosse

Gustavus Adolphus

The staff in the Upward Bound office is so excited to see where all of our seniors will end up and we applaud them for working hard this month to get all of their college applications taken care of. As you can see from the list of colleges above, we will potentially have students all over the state and even the country! It can be a scary and overwhelming for seniors to think about moving far away from home and starting a whole new chapter of their lives but we are confident that all of our seniors will be successful!

As parents and students read this list we hope that the college conversations continue beyond College Knowledge Month, after all, the application is only the first step of the college adventure! Our seniors will spend the next few weeks wrapping up the loose ends on their applications (getting letters of recommendation completed, having transcripts sent to each college) and it is our goal for all of our seniors to be completely done with applications by Thanksgiving break. The next step in the process is often the most difficult- the waiting game! Students will start to hear back about college acceptance in late December/January and then we will be getting started on filling out the FAFSA to determine financial aid qualifications for our students.

Seniors need to keep in mind as well that now is the perfect time to start looking at scholarship opportunities within their high school, community and within the state. Our November Saturday Session (November 22nd) will be a great opportunity for all of our students to learn all about scholarships and have time to start applying to a few. Remember that on our D2L page we have a variety of resources for scholarship information- check it out!


October is College Knowledge Month!

What is College Knowledge Month?

Minnesota, in collaboration with the United States Department of Education, is pleased to announce October as College Knowledge Month. Throughout the month, high schools across the state will host events to assist students with the college application process. This year our TRIO Upward Bound Program will participate in the College Knowledge Month effort, with the goal of ensuring that all of our seniors apply to at least one post-secondary program and our other Upward Bound students have the opportunity to learn more about their post-secondary options.

The original goal of College Knowledge Month was to provide an opportunity for all Minnesota seniors to complete and file college applications and this effort has evolved into a time dedicated to helping students discover their college path.  To us, “college” or “post-secondary” means any education program beyond high school including two-year and four-year degree programs. This initiative is so important because research shows that most new jobs will require some form of education and training beyond high school.

Why College Knowledge Month?

As an Upward Bound program it is our mission and goal for our students to graduate high school and move on to a post-secondary option that fits them best, so you may be wondering why we are making College Knowledge Month such a big deal when this is what we do all year. Here are a few reasons we are taking part in College Knowledge Month this year:

  • Each high school that we serve will be taking part in College Knowledge Month in some capacity and this is a great opportunity for us to collaborate with our High Schools and ensure that our students are hearing all about college all month long.
  • October is a key month in the college applications process for our seniors and having the emphasis on College Knowledge Month allows our students to get the support and assistance they need during the application process both in school and during the tutoring sessions after school with TRIO.
  • Because this is a recognized event throughout the entire state, there are a number of Minnesota colleges offering to waive their application fee at some point in October- THIS IS HUGE! We can use this opportunity to have our students apply to their choice colleges for free!
  • We want to get all of our students involved with the college exploration process: having 9-11th graders seeing what the seniors are experiencing during the application process is a great way to grow the excitement about college!

TRIO Events in October:

Wednesday October 1st: College visit to Hamline and Augsburg (juniors and Seniors- this is during the school day and parents will need to call in and excuse their child)

Saturday October 4th: College visit to Bemidji State University (this event is open to all TRIO students and is an optional college visit that will be taking place on a Saturday. Note: this is a longer day)

Tuesday October 7th: National College Fair (evening event open to juniors and Seniors- transportation is not provided to Anoka Ramsey Community College, students will need to get themselves to Cambridge and home after the event but we will provide dinner to all students in attendance).

Thursday October 16th: college visit to St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical and Community College (juniors and seniors only- this is a first-come-first-served event and we have to limit attendance to 20 students, if interested please talk to your Advisor ASAP). This is a non-school day event.

The last week of October (27th-30th): Upward Bound Advisors will be staying after tutoring to give the seniors the opportunity to apply for the colleges they are interested in. Parents are welcome to come in and be a part of this exciting process!

Wear your college gear! The advisors will be sporting their college gear during the month and we encourage students to wear any college gear that they might have.

College Trivia: students will have the opportunity to test their college knowledge throughout the month and win some sweet college swag!

Linking our interests, skills and strengths with majors and careers: each grade level will participate in a different activity during tutoring throughout the month that will move them one step closer to finding the perfect post-secondary fit.

Help us Spread the Excitement!

We are eager to work this month on engaging our TRIO students in the college exploration process and we look forward to seeing everyone get excited about College Knowledge Month! We encourage everyone to make college a topic of conversation throughout the month with everyone you know!

Here are some helpful links to check out for college information and exploration:

College Knowledge Month Website – a great place to learn more about CKM!

Collegeboard - an inside source for all things college!

Financial Aid Toolkit - learn all about paying for college here!



A truly AMAZING Saturday with TRIO!

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We are back into the swing of things here at TRIO- Kicking off our school year with a great Saturday session! Students were excited to see each other as they made their way into the Anoka-Ramsey Community College campus on Saturday morning. Even though we were recently all together back in mid-July for our epic summer trip to Winona it was still nice to see all the smiling faces of our TRIO students. The kickoff event included a parent/student breakout session that gave grade-specific information all about upcoming events and information to keep in mind, some sweet team-building activities that get our kids working together,  some time for students to show their skills in a kickball game and a truly AMAZING challenge that wrapped up our day- the TRIO Amazing Race. Now, it should be mentioned that the TRIO Advisors- Kelly, Monica and Lauren were recently at a National Conference for the Council for Opportunity in Education and took part in an Amazing Race that they won first place in! Having had the great experience in DC, they wanted to share the fun with the TRIO students. Teams were formed and the rules were explained to the students- each team had to find the location of each task, complete the task and make their way to the next location. Teams had to work together to complete the different tasks and would earn points based on how many tries it took to complete the task. Some of the tasks included math riddles, a Sudoku puzzle, the human knot and a thrilling game of leap-frog. Teams were then to race back to home base and the team with the highest total number of points would be crowned the Amazing Race champions!  Even though the race had to be cut a bit short due to weather- most students were able to make it to all the stations and back to home base in time. The winning team (winning by 1 point) was the Killer Dragons!

Here are a few pictures of the day- if you would like to see more you can check out our Facebook Page!

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Another TRIO Summer Program in the Books


We have successfully completed another TRIO Upward Bound Summer Program and it was one that will not be soon forgotten! For those of you who are friends with us on Facebook or follow our Twitter feed, you have probably seen some of the fun that we have had in the last six weeks (if you aren’t connected with our social media- DO IT!).

Hint: Search Upward Bound Cambridge Campus to become our friend on Facebook- the link above brings you to our “like” page. Facebook is so goofy.

Academic Classes

This year the Summer Program started right after school let out- you can blame the crazy Minnesota winter and all of the school closings for that one. Without even a small break as a reprieve from academics our dedicated students jumped right into their summer classes. This year students took Math, English, Physics or Environmental Science and Spanish. Our teachers for the Summer Program were amazing and I think it’s safe to say that our students were entertained as well enriched in all subject areas. Some of the academic fun included using their creative brains to dream up their ideal Utopian world in English and debating with other groups about who had the best Utopian society, making roller coasters and launching rockets in Physics class, creating murals on the sidewalks of the college for Spanish class and taking samples from the pond for Environmental Science. Students had the opportunity to take part in hands-on learning and many students enjoyed the academic portion of our summer. The intention of the Summer Program is to enrich our students’ learning experience and prepare them for the upcoming school year.


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What is a good Summer Program without some non-classroom fun?!? This summer we designated Mondays as our field trip days and we were able to get students off campus and out exploring what our great state has to offer! We started off the summer with a couple of college visits and a kickoff BBQ. Students had the option of college tours at Metropolitan State University and St. Thomas University where they were able to see the campus and learn about all that these two schools had to offer. We all met back at ARCC for a BBQ put on by Chef Ryan- our Upward Bound Director. Now, if you ask the kids they were not the biggest fan of his BBQ skills but he will have a chance for redemption soon.


Our second Monday trip was a wild one- we took our students for a sunny afternoon at Como Zoo. Students had a great time checking out all the animals and botanical gardens and then we met on the lawn for a pizza picnic (because honestly, what is TRIO without Dominos?)


Our final Monday trip we ventured out of Minnesota and headed over to River Falls, Wisconsin for a tour of their beautiful campus. Students got to see what this college offered and enjoyed yet another meal in the college dining hall (it’s the small things in life, really). The feedback from this adventure was great and we had a lot of students show interest in this school.


TRIO Class

An update on our video competition for those of you who read our last blog post and want to know how it turned out. Students did and AMAZING job working in small groups to create videos that encapsulate the fun and fulfilling opportunities that TRIO Upward Bound has provided them with. We had a total of 5 videos completed at the end of the Summer Program and we spent an afternoon watching the videos and celebrating all the hard work that our students put into them. For those of you who have never created a video- it’s not easy! Lots of coordination and technology skill were needed to make the videos come together into a project that our students were proud to present to others. Although at times the process was frustrating and took a great deal of patience on the part of our students, they did a great job and should be proud of their efforts! Upward Bound staff had the difficult task of choosing one of the videos to submit to the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) video competition and this is the one we picked TRIO Upward Bound: Having Fun while Achieving Our Dreams

Summer Trip

Last but certainly not least, we closed out the summer with an unforgettable trip to Winona, Minnesota for three days of fun, friendship and #TRIOfamily bonding time. This year is a bit different than past summers due to the budget cuts that we faced- the advisors had to work hard and be creative on a tight budget. I think it’s safe to say that this trip surpassed everyone’s expectations.


We headed out on Wednesday morning and drove straight through to Winona. The scenery on the bus ride south was awesome and students were anxious to arrive and get their mini-vacation started! Winona State University was gracious enough to host us for the three days we were in town and we had the pleasure of staying in one of their new suite-style residence halls. Needless to say- students were impressed with their digs and us advisors had to gently remind them that this residence hall is far from “traditional” (lets be real- air conditioning in college?!? Keep dreaming kids). Day one was filled with activities for our students to take part in. Our first adventure was a campus tour and admissions presentation from our gracious hosts at Winona State University. Students got to see what Winona had to offer and sampled some delicious college dining hall cuisine. No college campus visit is complete without a trip through the bookstore as well- students got to spend some money that was burning a hole in their pocket and many picked out some Warrior gear to sport for the next three days. In the afternoon on Wednesday we took the opportunity to enjoy the AWESOME weather and we flocked to the local beach. Students had a blast swimming, catching some rays and throwing around the football. It seems like a little structured free-time was just what they needed. We wrapped up our first night away in the best way we knew how- cosmic bowling. The staff at Winona Bowl provided great service- they turned on the cosmic lights, cranked up some tunes and gave our students two hours of bowling fun. Let’s just be honest- our students are awesome and could have fun anywhere, but neon lights and loud music really got them going! There were mini-dance parties and bowling contests along with literally hundreds of selfies (because, why not?!).

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Day two provided another beautiful scenic drive as we made our way into La Crosse, Wisconsin for a tour of their campus. Students enjoyed the college visit as well as another opportunity to buy some goodies at the bookstore and eat yet-another dining hall meal. Our second stop on day two was a pretty cool site- we drove all the way to the top of Grandad Bluff and students were able to walk out to the edge of the overlook and snap some pictures. The bus ride up to the top was pretty intense being that the bluff is located 600 feet up (our bus drivers are awesome, by the way) and students were wondering how we were going to get back down (reverse, duh). In mid-afternoon students go the choice: head back to the beach or head to the movie theater for some quiet time. Students who went to the movie got to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 and students who went to the beach enjoyed another day in the sun. Our event-filled day two wrapped up with a buffet style dinner at the Green Mill in Winona where students enjoyed the company of their fellow TRIO members and had the opportunity to chat with people that they don’t get to see all the time. Before heading back to the residence hall for the night we made an impromptu stop at the local Dairy Queen and ended the evening with a sweet treat (they were also great- 75 people shuffling through a tiny Dairy Queen is not easy).

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Day three was our final leg of the trip and we had to hit one more college before making the trek back north. We were able to have a great campus visit and admissions presentation from the folks at St. Mary’s University in Winona- their staff from the Student Success Center even put on a family-feud style game that the students really enjoyed. After another dining hall experience and walk through the bookstore students were ready to board the bus and head home. Even though our trip was a shorter one this year, I think it’s safe to say our students were ready to be back in the comfort of their own homes! Overall our Summer Program was a great success and the end-of-the-year summer trip was icing on the cake.

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One theme that we have been working on instilling into our Upward Bound program this year is the idea of TRIO family- we want our students to feel support from all other Upward Bound students, not only the fellow TRIO members at their respective schools. TRIO Upward Bound is an opportunity to receive support from not only TRIO advisors but literally hundreds of other students who are on the same adventure.

We want to thank everyone who made our trip great, without the support of parents and the diligent work of the Upward Bound Staff our Summer Program just wouldn’t be the same. And for all of you TRIO students out there- your dedication to this program and attitude in general are not overlooked. You are what makes the TRIO Upward Bound Summer Program what it is- an unforgettable memory. Thank you to everyone and we are looking forward to another great school year!



Watch Out Robert Redford- TRIO Videographers on the Loose!

The Summer Program is Here Already!!!

Next Monday we start our six-week summer program and we could not be more excited! All of us in the office have been working tirelessly to ensure that our students have a great time during the summer event. One component of the summer program that we are particularly excited about is the Upward Bound 50th Anniversary Video Competition that we will be taking part in. As many already know, Upward Bound is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and that is a big deal! To honor Upward Bound and all the amazing things that it has helped students accomplish, the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) is putting on a video completion in which students can submit short videos about what Upward Bound is to them and the impact that it has had in their lives. This year in our TRIO class during the summer program we are going to have our students work in groups to make awesome videos of their own! They will work with their fellow UB classmates to brainstorm, storyboard, shoot and edit a short video for submission into the contest. We all think that this will be a great opportunity for students to try out their acting, directing and editing skills and get to know their fellow Upward Bounders better! If all goes according to plan our hope is to have a “viewing party” at the end where students can showcase their hard work to all the other students and parents would be welcome to come and see what their students created! 

We will keep you posted with more information about how it’s going- there is no doubt that our students will come up with some pretty awesome and creative stuff!