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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, first-generation, and underrepresented 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 added in 2011 and then both Upward Bound Math Science and Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program added in 2012.   In 2017-2018, College Access TRIO Programs served 1,375 students through Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math Science, Talent Search, and McNair Scholars.

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

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.

The FREE Upward Bound programs provides weekly academic support services to students throughout their high school years and into their freshman year of college in order to ensure a successful transition from high school through the first year of college.  Upward Bound has a 98% success rate in helping students identify their "Best Fit College."  Students must come from low-income families or families in which neither parent has earned a bachelor’s degree.

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 coaching and mentoring to students as they graduate from high school, transition to college, and pursue their degrees.  The program includes a Summer Academic Component, College Tours, and College Transition Planning.