Upward Bound Resources



Upward Bound has compiled a list of useful resources for you. Open the sections below to find a variety of websites and documents related to college planning and success.  

College & Career Resources

Here is a brief list of financial aid, college, entrance exams and career planning websites. Take your time with each site; they will definitely provide great ideas.

Financial Aid

College Sites

College Entrance Exams

Career Planning

Financial Aid

Although many students determine where they will attend college depending on how much money they will receive through financial aid, keep in mind that an education should be considered an investment in your future, not an unwelcome expense.

If you and your family need help paying for your education, there is considerable financial support available from both public and private sources. Please read our information on college expenses, the FAFSA, the Cal Grant and scholarships.

Formula used for to determine Financial Aid Eligibility

Cost of Attendance – Expected Family Contribution = Amount Needed

Cost of Attendance

When you begin college, you do encounter new bills that you may have never been responsible for. Here are the most common bills college students are responsible for:

  • Fixed expenses set by the university
    • Registration fees
    • On-campus (dormitory) housing
    • Meal plan
  • Expenses that will vary
    • Books & course supplies
    • Off-campus housing
    • Transportation
    • Food (snacks and off-campus meals)
    • Utilities (phone and cable)
    • Personal expenses
    • Medical care (all UC students are covered by campus health insurance)

Keep in mind that these are the general college-related bills. There may be more that you can avoid if you regulate your expenses and try to stay away from additional bills (credit cards for example).


The best known application to fill out in order to receive financial aid is the Free Application for Student Federal Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is filled out for any university you are applying to with a deadline of March 2. It must be filled out every year up until you graduate from college if you wish to receive aid.

Financial aid consists of:

  • scholarships or grants (that do not have to be paid back)
  • loans (that must be paid back; some during the time you are a student and others with a grace period after you graduate)
  • jobs or work-study

Cal Grants

Students who want to be eligible for Cal Grants must fill out a GPA Verification Form that they can attain from their high school counselor. This form must also be submitted by the March 2nd deadline. Here is a short description of Cal Grants:

  • Cal Grant A

    • Population Served: Students from low- to middle-income families
    • Type of Assistance: Tuition assistance only
    • Application Materials: FAFSA and GPA Verification Form
    • Eligibility Based On: Financial need and GPA of about 3.0
    • Renewal Process: Complete FAFSA annually and satisfactory academic progress
    • Eligibility Time Limit: Freshman will be eligible until completion of BA/BS or 4 years full-time
    • Special Award Categories: Eligible students attending a CC will have their Cal Grant A placed on “reserve” once they enter a CSU or UC
  • Cal Grant B
    • Population Served: Students from disadvantaged to low-income families
    • Type of Assistance: Living expenses first year; tuition fees and living expenses afterwards
    • Application Materials: FAFSA and GPA Verification Form
    • Eligibility Based On: Financial need and GPA, family size, parents educational level, and whether or not student is from a single parent family
    • Renewal Process: Complete FAFSA annually and satisfactory academic progress
    • Eligibility Time Limit: Freshman will be eligible until completion of BA/BS or 4 years full-time
    • Special Award Categories: Students enrolled at a CC who will be transferring to a four-year university can then receive one of 250 “special awards”
  • Cal Grant C
    • Population Served: Students from low- to middle-income families
    • Type of Assistance: Tuition fees and books/supplies
    • Application Materials: FAFSA and GPA Verification Form
    • Eligibility Based On: Financial need, educational history, GPA
    • Renewal Process: Satisfactory academic progress
    • Eligibility Time Limit: 2 years max
    • Special Award Categories: NONE

For Cal Grants, students must be a US citizen, permanent resident or eligible non-resident; be a California resident attending an eligible California high school; apply prior to March 2nd; not have received a prior bachelor’s degree; and meet income and GPA guidelines.


Internet scholarship searches are important resources.

Keep in mind that these are just a few webpages that contain financial aid information. Ask your school counselors or local community agencies to recommend additional support. Aid is available; you just have to apply for it.

College Board

College Entrance Exams

As you apply to colleges during your senior year, you must submit scores from one of two college entrance exams including the SAT Reasoning Test and/or the ACT exam.

The Tests

These tests can be nerve-wracking, but they should not stop you from wanting to apply to college. The more you know about the testing process, the better you will feel when you take the exam.

These tests are not pass or fail; they measure what you have learned so far in school. If you do not receive a high score, it does not mean you will not be eligible for college nor that you will not graduate from college, but you want to do your best when you take them.

The list below describes which admissions tests are required for each system:

  • ACT with writing or SAT Reasoning Test
    • The UC no longer requires the SAT subject tests, but certain programs on some campuses recommend them. You can also use subject tests to satisfy the “a-g” requirements.
  • ACT or SAT Reasoning Test
  • ACT or SAT Reasoning Test
Community College
  • No test required

Make certain that you take the ACT/SAT Reasoning Test by December of your 12th grade since all UC campuses and some CSU campuses will not accept the scores after December. We do not recommend using score choice.

Remember, if you attend a community college after high school and did not take these exams, when you transfer you are NOT required to take these exams. However, if you do not attend a community college and then decide to apply to a UC or CSU, you must meet their requirements by taking these exams.


Students also have the option of taking the PSAT, a test that allows you to prepare for the SAT exam which helps in learning hints and to practice. The fee for the PSAT is $14, but some programs offer free exams for qualified students. Check with your school counselor for more information.

Advanced Placement Courses and Exams

These exams are offered in almost all high schools, but are not required for admission. High schools differ in how many courses offer the AP exam, but taking these classes will offer a good indication of what freshman in college will experience in their college classes. There are many benefits to taking AP courses:

  • preparation for college work
  • improves chances of being admitted to a competitive college
  • helps explore a possible major
  • builds self-confidence for college work
  • increases the likelihood that you will graduate from college

AP exams cost $87 each, but some students can qualify for fee waivers. Get more information on earning college credit with AP exams.

Test Preparation

You can prepare for the SAT and ACT exams by:

  • taking challenging courses
  • reading books
  • taking your education seriously
  • doing your homework and getting good grades in your exams

Visit the following web sites for more specific information like application deadlines, test hints and practice problems.

Upward Bound or your school counselor can offer you an exam fee waiver if you qualify but will not help you cover late fees.

California College Information

If you find yourself questioning whether a college education is worth all the time and money, consider this:

  • a college educated student receives a greater salary than a non-college graduate
  • college graduates tend to receive better health care and retirement plans
  • you choose and receive more options instead of someone else giving them to you
  • you serve as a role model for your family and your community

College is for you because in life you will always be a student! California’s four major college systems are the California Community Colleges, California State Universities, University of California, and Independent/Private Colleges.

California Community Colleges

There are over 100 community colleges in California that offer two-year associate degrees and certificate programs. Many students attend a community college first to take their prerequisites and then transfer to receive a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution. Students at a community college have the opportunity to meet with an advisor for a Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) or an Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC). IGETC is a series of courses transfer students take at a community college to satisfy the lower division general education requirements for both UC and CSU. It is best to consult with an admissions representative at the campus you wish to attend.

For more information, visit ASSIST which describes more in detail the TAG and the IGETC. You can also look at UC Answers for Transfers. Or learn more about community college transfers to UC Davis

California State University (CSU) System

The CSU system is considered to be the nation’s largest system of higher education with 23 campuses. Degrees available include bachelor’s, master’s and a limited number of doctoral degrees that are offered jointly with the University of California (UC) and with private institutions in California. Additionally, the CSU offers Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree programs for educational administrators.

A great resource is the Cal State Apply website, which provides an excellent overview of all CSUs and the degrees/majors available for students. You can also create a personal email account. This email account allows you to email university advisors about anything you wish to know. Before registering for Fall quarter or semester classes at a CSU, you must take the English and math placement tests, known as the EPT/ELM exams. Students who applied and are admitted to a CSU should receive information in the mail about these exams.

The English Placement Test assesses the reading and writing levels of entering students to place them in the appropriate classes. You do not have to take the EPT if you present proof of one of the following:

  • A score of 500 or above on the critical reading section of the SAT Reasoning Test
  • A score of 22 or above on the ACT English Test
  • A score of 3 or above on either the Language and Composition or Composition and Literature AP test
  • Completion and transfer to CSU of the credits for a college course that satisfies the CSU General Education requirement in English Composition, provided such a course was completed with a grade of C or better
  • A score of “Exempt” or “Ready for college-level English courses” on the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP) taken along with the English Language Arts California Standard Test in grade 11

The Entry Level Mathematics Test must also be taken before students register for classes; students may not enroll in any required GE or math course if they do not pass the ELM test. You do not have to take the ELM if you present proof of one of the following:

  • A score of 550 or above on the mathematics section of the SAT Reasoning Test
  • A score of 550 or above on a SAT Subject Test in Mathematics (level 1 or level 2)
  • A score of 23 or above on the ACT Mathematics Test
  • A score of 3 or above on the AP Calculus AB or Calculus BC exam
  • A score of 3 or above on the AP Statistics examination
  • Completion and transfer to CSU of a college course that satisfies the requirement in Quantitative Reasoning, provided such a course was completed with a grade of C or better
  • A score of “Exempt” or “Ready for college-level Mathematics courses” on the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP), taken in grade 11 in conjunction with the CST in Summative High School Mathematics or Algebra II
  • A score of “Conditionally ready for college-level Mathematics courses” or “Conditional” on the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP) taken in grade 11 along with the California Standards Test in Summative High School Mathematics or Algebra II, provided you successfully complete a CSU-approved 12th-grade math course that requires Algebra II as a prerequisite

Exemptions may vary for each institution, so you should check with each testing office at the university. You must take either the SAT I or the ACT exam, but you are not required to take the SAT II exam for admission to CSU. However, if you plan to apply to both CSU and UC, you must take the SAT II to be eligible for UC admission.

University of California (UC) System

Considered to be one of the nation’s most prestigious systems of higher education, the UC system offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Undergraduate education, graduate work and cutting-edge research are all emphasized. There are currently nine general campuses (Berkeley, Davis, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Irvine, Riverside, Merced and San Diego) and one which only offers professional programs in health science (UC San Francisco).

All students who are admitted to the UC system as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing Requirement (formerly known as Subject A requirement).

Students can meet this requirement by scoring:

  • 30 or better on the ACT Combined English/Writing test; or
  • 680 or better on the College Board SAT Reasoning Test, Writing section; or
  • 3 or above on either Advanced Placement Examination in English; or
  • 5 or above on an International Baccalaureate High Level English A exam
  • 6 or above on an International Baccalaureate Standard Level English A exam

Students who have not met the Entry Level Writing Requirement must take the UC Analytical Writing Placement Examination. During the examination, students will be required to read a passage and then write an essay responding to a single topic based on the content.

Those students who do not pass the examination can still satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement before enrolling in the University by achieving a satisfactory score on one of the tests listed above or by completing an acceptable college course in English composition with a grade of C or better. Students who have not satisfied the Entry Level Writing Requirement at the time they enroll in their classes must take a writing course designated by their campus.

There is a $110 fee for the Analytical Writing Placement Examination. This fee will be waived if you have already received a waiver of your UC application fees.

California Independent Colleges

Independent Colleges, known as private colleges, are very popular among many students for several reasons. Their smaller student population may mean that classes are smaller and more intimate so that you can get to know your professor. Although independent universities may cost more to attend, they may offer a very good financial aid package for students who cannot pay for all their college expenses.

California’s independent universities offer tremendous diversity and specialized support for students. To find out more about a specific independent university, contact the office of admissions about application deadlines, how to obtain an application and fee waiver information.

With all these opportunities to attain a postsecondary education, you should really consider the value of an education for life.

 TRIO Links

This page is designed to give you an opportunity to explore information on our national organization (COE), regional organization (WESTOP) and other Trio related programs. 

Links to Organizations

Links to Programs

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