MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Office of Educational Opportunity Programs

The Office of Educational Opportunity Programs was created in January of 1992 to organizationally locate both the MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound and MIT Educational Talent Search Programs. 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 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, represent just such interventions.

It has been long established that the effects of failure can be reversed through gradual structured achievement. Moreover, the result of the increasing success is a corresponding increase in the individual's level of aspiration. The Educational Talent Search Program, now in its 4th year, is reporting increasing success. Further, the Upward Bound Program continues its lengthy record of success (90+ percent college enrollment of graduates and 70 percent retention of participants annually) achieved during its 28 year existence through the application of Kurt Lewin's theory and careful attention to the impact of Program expectations.

Finally, since much of what students think they can achieve has been directly related to what others think they can accomplish, the participants' perceptions of their abilities are, to a significant degree, determined by staff expectations. Thus, and largely due to this quasi-parenting relationship, the Programs are able to exert such an influence upon the participants that their academic persistence grows and results in increased post-secondary enrollments.


The MIT Educational Talent Search Program is a year-round, co-educational, program, located in Building 20, designed to assist participants, in grades 6-12, who live and/or attend school in Cambridge and in grades 9 - 12 who live and/or attend school in Cambridge or Somerville to continue in a course of education leading to graduation from secondary school and enrollment in post-secondary educational programs. The Program is funded to serve 650 participants from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The following is an overview of the Program's year-round operation:

Academic Year Program
The academic year program is designed to inform, assist and support participants during the school year through a number of after school, evening and weekend activities:

Tutorials & Study Skills
The Educational Talent Search office is open for supervised study, on a drop-in basis, four days a week: Monday - Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Staff are available to provide assistance with homework or provide tutorial assistance in content areas. Students are assigned to group or individual study skills workshops on an as needed basis.

The Program offers workshops to supplement the instructional support provided to participants. The workshops are offered to provide more specific support or to address special interests (e.g., SAT preparation, Word Processing, Computer Games, etc.) and are offered on a regular and as needed basis.

In an effort to assist participants as they attempt to cope with problems of an academic, social, family or personal nature, the Program offers support and referrals in the areas of school guidance, academic and vocational preparation, and personal adjustment.

Information Dissemination and Exploratory Activities
In an effort to provide both participants and their families with information relative to college; choice, preparation, and the admission and financial aid processes, the Program held four parent and ten student information nights, took participants to six local College Fairs and sponsored eight college visits. The Program also visited Tech Day at Massachusetts Bay Community College and attended the Inroads Career Awareness Seminar as part of its career exploration effort.

Cultural and Recreational Activities
The Program provided five field trips for the purpose of increasing the intellectual, social, and cultural development of the participants. Some of the sites visited were; Museum of Science, New England Aquarium and Mt. Snow Ski Resort. In addition, the Program regularly visits several points of interest, i.e., libraries, museums and laboratories, on the MIT campus.

Summer Program
The summer program provides both academic instruction to 63 (6th - 8th) grade participants and a continued college information and exploration program to participants in grades 9-12.

The summer academy for (6th - 8th) grade students provided classes in Mathematics, Language Arts, and Social Studies. The classes, held Monday-Thursday, are designed to provide both developmental assistance and enrichment and are taught by experienced teachers from the greater Boston area. Field trips are taken every Friday to various points of interest.

Since many of the participants in grades 9-12 hold summer jobs, the Program provides continuing support through dissemination of information about area college fairs, hosted a weekly career speaker series and sponsored two college visits.


The MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound Program is a year-round, co-educational, multi-racial, college preparatory program for high school youth who reside or attend school in Cambridge. Currently in its twenty-eighth year, the Program serves 70 academically promising young men and women from disadvantaged backgrounds. The goal of Upward Bound is twofold: (1) to motivate client high school youths such that they persist on to post-secondary education; and, at the same time, (2) 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:

Summer Program
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. Upward Bound participants must enroll in three classes, each of which meets for an average of five and one-half hours per week. Also, participants may request or be assigned to tutorials whenever the need arises. Each participant is required to enroll in a Mathematics course, an English course and an elective course (Social Studies, Science or Foreign Language). Science electives include; biology, chemistry, physics and computers while Social Studies address United States, African-American and World Histories. The Foreign Language electives are Spanish I and Spanish II. The Mathematics courses range from arithmetic to calculus and Language Arts courses cover basic English and grammar through research paper writing and literature. Lastly, due to an agreement with the Cambridge Public Schools, students may receive summer school credit for failed courses taken for review.

Academic Year Program
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 when appropriate (we continually strive to maintain MIT and Wellesley College students' participation through our continued involvement as a pre-practicum site for the Wellesley College Teacher Certification Program and through various outreach efforts), have been developed:

Tutoring and Study Skills
The Upward Bound office is open for study, on a drop-in basis, four days a week: Monday and Thursday from 3:00 to 6:00 pm and Tuesday and Wednesday 3:00 to 8:00 pm. Tutors are available to assist participants with homework problems in addition to meeting individuals and/or small groups for specific content area tutorials.

Classes and Workshops
The Program offers classes, specifically for the 9th grade students, in Mathematics and Language Arts to supplement the instruction received at the target school. Also, academic workshops are offered to address more specialized participant needs (e.g., SAT preparation, Computers, Foreign Language, etc.).

In an effort to help participants cope with the myriad of problems; academic, social, family, etc., the Program offers support in the areas of guidance, college, career and personal adjustment.

Cultural and Recreational Activities
The Program provides numerous field trips which have as their purpose, the intellectual, social and cultural development of the participants. Such trips included: the Museum of Science, the New England Sports Museum, skiing, bowling, and roller-skating.

College Report: Class Of 1995
Ninety-four percent of the Program's graduating seniors have enrolled in the following institutions: Bennett College, Bentley College, Boston College, Franklin Institute, Mount Ida College, Norfolk State University, Northeastern University, Norwich University, Salem State College, Syracuse University, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and Wentworth Institute of Technology.

Ronald S. Crichlow

Evette M. Layne

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95