The Veterans Upward Bound Program offers four pathways for its students:
- Pathway One: College and Career Awareness
- Pathway Two: GED Program
- Pathway Three: Self-Paced Skill Development
- Pathway Four: Sixteen-Week Classroom Based Instructional
Pathway One: College and Career Awareness
Low income, first generation veterans face a myriad of academic and social obstacles that hinder their ability to successfully pursue postsecondary education. These include lack of information about and access to postsecondary educational opportunities, inadequate academic preparation and college survival skills, under and unemployment, homelessness, and disability. In addition, the population of women veterans is growing and brings special challenges including balancing family, work, and school. To address these needs, VUB provides four pathways to college from which veterans can choose. Some of our students start in one pathway, and then progress to Pathway Four (classroom) after a semester or two.
Pathway one includes college counseling, assistance filling out college applications, including financial aid applications (particularly the FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid), tutoring and assistance in writing a college entrance essay, and other relevant activities designed to help a veteran enter a program of postsecondary education the following semester.
Pathway Two: GED Preparation
Veterans who have not graduated high school, nor received a GED in the military, must prepare for and pass the GED exam before entering college. VUB assists these veterans in the following manner:
Individualized tutoring at UMB by VUB tutors in all the GED subject areas.
Through a special arrangement with Project SCALE in Somerville, VUB students can attend GED classes at the SCALE offices.
VUB will continue to work with a veteran until he or she passes the GED exam. Once passed, the student can move on to Pathway Three or Pathway Four before entering a postsecondary program.
Pathway Three: Self-Paced Skill Development
For students who can't attend classes at UMass-Boston, or who enter the program after a semester has already begun, VUB has designed a "self-study" track: Pathway 3. In this Pathway, students watch lectures from DVDs on a wide variety of topics delivered by highly acclaimed college professors. Each lecture is approximately 30 minutes in length and is also accompanied by two essay questions (or math problems for the math lectures). You will watch the lecture, taking notes as the lecture progresses, and then compose a 250-word essay in response to one of the essay questions (or do the appropriate math problems). VUB can also supply supplemental readings upon request of the student.
After completing the assignment, the student can either (1) hand in the assignment to a VUB representative, or (2) mail or email the assignment to the VUB office. Within one week of passing in the assignment, the student will receive a detailed response from a program tutor, correcting the assignment for content, structure, grammar, and usage (or in the case of math assignments, correcting the assignments and showing correct answers for problems the student got wrong).
We expect students to do a minimum of one assignment per week for each course he/she signs up for. One advantage of this program is that since these lectures are on DVD, you can watch the lecture as many times as you like before tackling the assignment! We consider the completion of 12 assignments the equivalent of finishing one pre-collegiate class.
VUB has 'satellite' programs at the Chelsea Soldiers Home and the Brockton VA Hospital with on-site tutors helping veterans with their assignments. At the end of each semester, veterans will consult with VUB staff as to whether the veteran will continue in Pathway 3 the following semester, apply directly to a Community College, or attend Pathway 4 classes at UMass-Boston.
Pathway Four: Sixteen-Week Classroom Based Instructional
There are two 16-week cycles of classroom instruction at UMass-Boston; one from September to December, and one from February to May. VUB also runs a 3-week workshop during the summer (usually in July).
The federally mandated curriculum for Veterans Upward Bound programs consists of instruction in the following subjects:
Composition & Literature:
Participants develop writing and critical skills, including a critical appreciation of literature, by reading literature and writing essays concerning what they read. Students deepen their understanding of the use of appropriate formats and genres, write persuasively for a specific identified audience, recognize and use appropriate tone and style, use figurative language and be able to evaluate their own written work. Participants also learn how to write a scholarly research paper and master the library skills necessary for the paper's preparation. Participants explore topics of their choosing, reviewing literature, becoming proficient citing sources and proactive techniques of scholarship. Methods of instruction include lecture, class discussion, criticizing of essays for readability and grammar.
Participants review arithmetic fundamentals, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions, decimals, percentages, ratios, and word problems before advancing to algebra, geometry, elementary functions, and pre-calculus. Quizzes and formal examinations are employed to ascertain participant's progress through the subject matter.
The student is able to understand science as a process of inquiry — questioning, observing, investigating, experimenting, incorporating prior knowledge and drawing conclusions in order to better understand and solve challenges in our natural world. Students will study topics in Biology, Physics, and Chemistry as a process of problem solving that helps us work and live more comfortably in the world. The emphasis of the class is "hands on" experiments using the facilities offered in the UMass Boston Science labs.
Development of speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills. The study of culture is woven into the language course and students take the class regardless of their prior exposure to the language being studied.
In addition to the 'core curriculum' above, students also study:
Students are instructed in basic computer skills including all the Microsoft Office products, setting up email, use of the internet, computer-based research, and typing skills. The voice-activated "Dragon Speaking Naturally" program is also available for students unable to type their papers.
Students explore methodology of succeeding in college through the study of topics such as taking notes in class, time management, exam preparation, and critical thinking skills.