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Dajeau Mayfield, student worker at Upward Bound office, and graduate of the program (Photo: Jennifer Rodriguez)
Dajeau Mayfield, student worker at Upward Bound office, and graduate of the program (Photo: Jennifer Rodriguez)

UNLV Prepares Students for Success

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A UNLV program helps local disadvantaged students successfully transfer and succeed in college.

“Our target populations for our programs are students who are low-income and first-generation college students,” said Geannine Jordan, assistant director for the UNLV Upward Bound program.

The Upward Bound Trio program began in 1964 and is funded by federal grants. Students from under-performing high schools in the Clark County School District undergo vigorous training to ensure a smooth transition into college life.

Services include PSAT, SAT and ECT workshops, career workshops, college prep, scholarship research help and tutoring. Students visit the UNLV campus three Saturdays a month to ensure that they are receiving the best help possible.

“We feed them breakfast in the morning. It’s a full day since they get out at about 3:30,” said Brittany Jackson, academic counselor of the Upward Bound office from Desert Pines High School.

According to Jackson, students are required to take a mandatory science, technology, engineering or math class, also known as STEM, and a college prep class which provides an accurate idea of college level courses.  

Upward Bound TriO maintains an accessible presence by keeping offices at all target high schools.

“Our staff follows up Monday through Friday. They’re at the schools,” Jordan said. “For the students who don’t come on Saturdays or miss a day, we pull them out [of class] for just five minutes since we know that the schools we are servicing are not achieving as high as they should which is why we’re here.”

The program currently serves eight target high schools: Desert Pines, Canyon Springs, Cheyenne, Western, Chaparral, Del Sol, Mojave and Valley.

TriO Upward Bound currently serves 200 students, according to the UNLV Upward Bound Handbook.

According to the handbook, 99 percent of Upward Bound seniors graduated from college. 84 percent of those students enrolled in a post-secondary program and successfully completed a rigorous program of study.

Students are encouraged to apply their freshman year when recruiters visit school campuses.

“At the beginning of the school year we’ll go into the classrooms and at orientation to give a pitch about the program, and [students] can self-apply,” Jackson added.

All the services are free to students who meet the program requirements.

“[Students] earn it by just filling out the application, being accepted into the program and then just come in with a great attitude and good grades,” Jordan said.

The minimum GPA required is a 2.5, which opens the program to many students who are willing to put in the work.

“I would have never received scholarships. I would have ended up paying out of pocket for school. I would have never known how to fill out my FAFSA, and they gave me a computer,” said Dajeau Mayfield, first year student at UNLV and a graduate of the program.

Mayfield now works for the UNLV Upward Bound office and hopes to be a counselor in the program one day.

The goal of the program is to help students get to college with as many resources possible, whether they enroll at UNLV or wish to attend a different school.

“Our sole purpose is to equip high school students with the skills they need to enter and graduate college. That’s what we’re charged with by the Department of TriO program,” Jordan added.

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