Interested in joining?
Find what program is best for you.

Our staff is committed to providing a nurturing and caring environment to help disadvantaged students overcome academic and financial barriers in higher education.

SMU College Access Programs have assisted low-income and first-generation students prepare for college since 1966 when SMU was awarded its first Upward Bound grant from the U.S. Department of Education, TRIO Programs. SMU College Access Programs has grown over the years with Education Talent Search being added in 2011 and then Upward Bound Math Science and Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program being added in 2012. The College Knowledge Program that serves Dallas ISD Title I schools was added in 2016.

For over 50 years, SMU College Access Programs have helped low-income, potential first generation college students, and underrepresented students prepare for college success. College Access TRIO Programs served 1,375 students in 2017-2018 through Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math Science, Talent Search, and McNair Scholars. The College Knowledge Program supported 1,699 students in 2017-2018.

College Access Highlights

SMU College Access student Kaitlyn Contreras' journey from high school to Southern Methodist University as a first generation student. Also check out these two articles to read more about her story:
- Finding Your Place
- Kaitlyn Contreras '20

College Knowledge Program

Spruce at the Mane Event Preview Day at Texas A&M Commerce

Forty-eight Spruce seniors with the College Knowledge Program were able to attend the Mane Event Preview Day at Texas A&M Commerce. This preview day allowed students to attend admissions, financial aid, campus student life, and major specific sessions throughout the day. Students were also able to take campus and dorm tours as well as eat in the university dining hall in order to get a taste of what campus life would be like at Texas A&M Commerce.

•	Spruce High School seniors attend Texas A&M Commerce Mane Event Preview Day

Spruce at UT Austin

Twelve Spruce seniors traveled to the University of Texas at Austin with the College Knowledge Program. These top 6% seniors were able to take part in an admissions and financial aid presentation as well as a campus tour. The best part of the trip was the chance to meet up with Spruce Alumni from the Class of 2019 and hear them share with our current seniors the realities of being a college student the UT – Austin.

The top 6% seniors at Spruce High School visiting the University of Texas at Austin to receive college information 

The SMU College Knowledge Program provides services in selected Dallas Independent School District high schools to assist students with the college transition process.

McNair Scholars Program

SMU McNair Scholars Visit Northern California

Participation in the SMU McNair Scholars program provides students with the opportunity to travel across the country to visit potential graduate schools. During January 2020, the McNair Scholars Program traveled to Northern California to visit Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. During these tours, students met faculty and current students, toured the campus and research facilities, and received information regarding funding and the application processes. In addition to visiting college campuses, students are given the opportunity to explore the local community. We believe that it is important for students not only to enjoy the graduate program, but to be able to see themselves living in the area during the time it would take to earn their degree. Students are pictured during the tour of Stanford’s campus. Stanford’s campus is made up of 8,180 acres – making it the size of 96 Disneyland Parks and one of the largest college campuses in the United States.

McNair Scholars students touring Stanford University to learn about graduate programs

The Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program at Southern Methodist University combines faculty mentoring, undergraduate research, and academic support services to prepare and engage SMU students academically and encourage them to purse postgraduate studies.

Upward Bound/Upward Bound Math Science

Toyota's Manufacturing Day 

Selected Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math Science scholars participated in Toyota’s Manufacturing Day at the Plano Location to learn about the various STEM and Business careers available. Toyota selects only 6 groups each year to participate. Our scholars had to write an essay to explain why they should be chosen to go on the trip since each group was only allowed a certain amount of spots.

Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math Science Scholars participating in a lego activity at Toyota's Manufacturing Day event.

Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math Science Scholars attending Toyota Manufacturing Day event.

Upward Bound serves high school students from low-income families, or families in which neither parent has earned a bachelor’s degree. Program participants must meet eligibility requirements and will be selected through an application and interview process.

Educational Talent Search

2020 went out in a very memorable way!

We are so proud of all our students for continuing to strive for greatness despite the many obstacles they faced, especially our graduating seniors. As they close this chapter in their life, a new one opens... COLLEGE! Look out UT, Texas State, UTA, TWU, PV, Texas Tech, UTD, A&M, and many others, here comes the ETS class of 2020

ETS high school graduated senior pictures 

Educational Talent Search provides academic, career and financial counseling to students as they graduate from high school, transition to college and pursue their degrees.