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Historical Perspective

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Pre-College Upward Bound Program is a pre-college program that is funded by the U.S. Department of Education for high school students in the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. Upward Bound programs have been in existence over 35 years across the country and been at the University of Tennessee since 1981. Upward Bound programs were specifically created to help potential first-generation college students and students from families who meet income guidlines established by the federal government graduate from high school, attend college, and reach their full potential while in college. The program provides tutoring, ACT preparation, college and career information, instruction in academics, cultural enrichment and social counseling on a one-to-one basis with students in the program. It also gives students a chance to experience what college might be like following the 9th, 10th and 11th grades through a six-week summer component on The University of Tennessee's campus during the summer.

Who is Eligible?

The University of Tennessee's Pre-College Upward Bound (PCUB programs accepts applications and nominations from 9th and 10th graders. Students entering the PCUB must be enrolled in one of the following high schools: Carter, Heritage, Sevier County, South Doyle, West and William Blount High School.

All students must:

  1. Meet family income guidelines established by the federal government
  2. Be a potential first generation college student (neither parent has a 4-yr. college degree)
  3. Complete the entire application package
  4. Complete an interview at UTK with at least one parent/guardian
  5. Provide at least two recommendations from current high school guidance counselor and one teacher
  6. Provide signed commitment of parental support
  7. Want to pursue a career that requires a college education
  8. Demonstrate a willingness and desire to actively participate in all program activities;

How To Apply

Step 1: Get an application from your high school guidance counselor, printing one from here, or by calling the PCUB office at (865) 974-4466 to have one mailed to you.

Step 2:Complete the entire application and return it to your high school guidance counselor or the PCUB Educational Specialist at your school.

Step 3: A PCUB staff member will contact you within one week after your application is received to provide more details about your application.

Student Responsibilities

The University of Tennessee's, Knoxville Pre-College Upward Bound Program staff realizes that it takes a very special student to be considered for its Upward Bound Program. Upon acceptance into PCUB, each makes a commitment to the following:

- Attend 10 Saturday Sessions;
- Attend field trips to various colleges and universities throughout the year;
- Attend weekly check-ins at their high school with the Upward Bound staff members;
- Commit to enrolling in college prep classes at their high school each semester
- Commit to attending a 6 week summer component at UTK;

Saturday Sessions

There are 10 Saturday Sessions held on the UTK campus for students in PCUB throughout the academic year. These sessions are combinations of academics, tutoring, college visits, and cultural enrichment activities. Most Saturday Sessions consist of classes in math, science, and English, along with foreign language, ACT prep, and math and science tutoring. Other Saturday Sessions may consist of visiting local college campuses around the area or attending a play, art museum, or other cultural activities. Saturday Sessions are for the benefit of the students in that they help them with academics, college planning, and cultural enrichment while in high school.

Summer Component


The Pre-College Upward Bound summer component is a six-week residential camp at The University of Tennessee that gives students a chance to experience what college life is like firsthand. The students live in a residence hall while taking academic classes in science, English, math, foreign language, computer, and ACT prep that will prepare them for their classes the following year in school. They also have an opportunity to attend lectures given by guest speakers about careers, colleges, financial aid, and college life; participate in recreational activities such as sports, scholar's bowl and movies; and special events across The University of Tennessee campus. At the end of the Summer component students may have an opportunity participate in a 3-day trip to places of interest like Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Philadelphia, PA.

Bridge Scholars

The bridge component offers a unique opportunity for students who excel during their Upward Bound experience. Seniors apply to be a PCUB Brdige Scholar in early January. Students selected as bridge scholar attend UTK during the summer immediately following their high school graduation. Students may take up to 8 semester hours of credit coursework. Tutoring and counseling are also available through the PCUB office. All services, tuition, and fees are paid by the Upward Bound Program and this total scholarship equals almost $5000 per student!

Staff Promise

The Pre-College Upward Bound staff is committed to providing quality services to our students. We do not take our jobs lightly! Our commitment to you is the following: if you ever feel that we are not doing our jobs to your satisfaction, please let us know. We will take every measure to correct our actions and get back on track immediately!

Pre-College Upward Bound Schools

  • Carter
  • Heritage
  • Sevier County
  • South Doyle
  • West
  • William Blount High

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