Office of Educational Opportunity Programs
The Office of Educational Opportunity Programs was created in January of 1992 to organizationally locate the MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound Program, the MIT Educational Talent Search Program (ceased operation in FY1998), and all future programming serving low-income community youth. MIT has operated the Upward Bound Program since 1966 and began operation of the Educational Talent Search Program in September of 1991.
Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search are two of six US Department of Education: Special Programs For Students From Disadvantaged Backgrounds (TRIO Programs) created under the Higher Education Act of 1965.
The goal of these programs is to provide college admission and preparatory information, academic support, advising, career information, and college and career exploration opportunities to the economically and/or educationally disadvantaged youth of Cambridge and formerly, Somerville.
To a large extent, the development of both programs was influenced by the research done by psychologist Kurt Lewin and his associates. Lewin's hypothesis was that ego growth and academic performance were closely related. Moreover, he concluded that a developing ego needs to experience success in a warm and personal, structured environment for greatest development, in both a personal and social sense. Lastly, it was determined that this personal and social growth could be achieved through intervention outside of the institutions of family and school. Educational Talent Search and Upward Bound, through their year-round academic support and advising, and cultural experiences represent just such interventions.
The MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound Program is a year-round, coeducational, multicultural, college preparatory program for high school youth who reside or attend school in Cambridge. Currently in its 36th year, the program serves 70 academically promising young men and women from disadvantaged backgrounds. The goal of Upward Bound is twofold: to motivate client high school youth such that they persist on to postsecondary education; and, at the same time, to provide them with the fundamental skills necessary for success at the collegiate level.
The following is an overview of the program's operational phases:
The six-week summer program, conducted in residence at Wellesley College, is designed to provide the participants with a rigorous academic experience. Classes are taught by experienced high school teachers and graduate and undergraduate students from MIT, Wellesley College, and other local colleges and universities. Each participant is required to enroll in a mathematics course, an English course and an elective course: social studies, science, or world languages. (Additionally, due to an agreement with the Cambridge Public Schools, students may receive summer school credit for up to two failed major courses taken during the preceding school year.)
The academic year program located at MIT, plays an equally important role in the educational development of participants. Building upon the motivation and enthusiasm developed during the summer, the academic year program is designed to assist and support the participant while in school. To accomplish this task, the following programs, staffed primarily by MIT and Wellesley College students (We continually strive to maintain MIT and Wellesley College students' participation through our continued involvement as a prepracticum site for the Wellesley College Teacher Certification Program and through various outreach efforts.) when appropriate, have been developed:
- The Upward Bound office is open for study, on a drop-in basis, four days a week. Tutors are available to assist participants with homework problems in addition to meeting individuals and/or small groups for specific content area tutorials.
- The program offers workshops monthly to address more specialized participant needs (e.g., SAT Preparation, Computers, Study Skills Development, Time Management, Job Readiness Skills, etc.).
- Also, in an effort to help participants cope with the myriad of problems’Äî academic, social, family, etc.’Äîthe program offers support in the areas of guidance, college, career, and personal adjustment. The college advising component includes campus visits to many of the local colleges and universities as well as to the historically black institutions and participation in at least two local college fairs. The program hosted its Annual College Day Program in July during the summer session at Wellesley College. There were approximately 75 colleges and universities represented as well as five visiting Upward Bound programs from the greater Boston area. The career advising component offers exposure to career options through our Career Presentations Program as well as through research on the internet.
- Lastly, the program provides numerous field trips that have as their purpose, the intellectual, social, and cultural development of the participants. Such trips included the Museum of Science, the Omni Theater, dramatic productions, Museum of Fine Arts, skiing, bowling, and roller-skating.
Eighty-eight percent of the program's graduating seniors have been accepted into postsecondary education institutions. Students from the program’Äôs Class of 2003 have enrolled in the following colleges and universities; Bunker Hill Community College, Fisher College, Johnson and Wales University, Norfolk State University, Northeastern University, Southern Maine Technical University, University of Hartford, University of Maryland, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.