Upward Bound prepares high school students for college life

Marcus Muñoz is learning that college life is tough while he is still a sophomore in high school.

“The hardest thing has been waking up early because every day when we wake up, we go to the Heskett Center; we do yoga, boot camp things like that,” Muñoz said.

He is participating in The Collegiate Transition Program at Wichita State, which is part of the Upward Bound Program.

The four-week program allows high school students to take college courses in communication, math and science, and a general pre-college curriculum. They live on campus and experience college life, too. UBP pays tuition for 6- to 8-hours of courses at WSU.

High school senior Ryan Dawson has been in the program since 8th grade and expects to be better equipped for college than others not enrolled in the program.

“I feel way more prepared because they didn’t get this experience to where you can already be ready to learn and wake up early,” Dawson said. “It is already in your routine for college.”

High school sophomore Dovie Lel is in her second year of Upward Bound Math Science.

“It was different because you have a roommate and I don’t have a roommate at home,” Lel said.

The students live in Fairmount South with resident assistants who live with the students for the duration of the program.

Muñoz said living away from home creates some other challenges including dorm food and cleaning his room.

“How and when I clean my room has been the easiest thing because I know when I have to clean it,” Muñoz said.

Students have set days in which their rooms are checked to make sure they are clean.

Wichita Heights senior DeMarquez Frazier is also part of Upward Bound Wichita Prep and has been staying and learning in the dorms every summer since his freshman year of high school.

“You have to motivate yourself to go to class instead of someone constantly telling you to get up,” Frazier said.

Frazier was one of many high school students who brought lots of clothes and shoes along with refrigerators, television sets and video games for their one-month stay at Fairmount South.

The federally funded program has helped low-income, first-generation college students boost themselves through middle, high school and college since the mid-1960s as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” About 850,000 students nationwide have participated.