Upward Bound Parents

November/December Newsletter

Parent University Financial Aid Session

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The financial aid process can be intimidating for many first-generation college student families; therefore, on December 5th Upward Bound hosted our Parent University Financial Aid workshop. At the workshop students and their families had the opportunity to review many aspects of the financial aid process.

Our senior parents were also guided through the Parent Pin process so that they may be prepared for the upcoming FAFSA Application season.

Topics covered:

  • Cost of Attendance
  • Expected Family Contribution
  • Pell Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Parent Plus Loans
  • Award Letters
  • Special Circumstances

Upward Bound is committed to the success of our students and thank our approximately 40 parents that joined us on an early Saturday morning.

Hill Country Science Mill

Providing students with the opportunity to explore a diverse area of career opportunities leads to informed decisions when it comes to deciding on college majors/career choices. The Hill Country Science Mill, located in Johnson City, Texas provides students with a great opportunity to do just that in the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) fields. Through interactive exhibits and programming our students were able to explore different career fields in the medical field, environmental science, engineering, and computer programming just to name a few.

On November 14th Palo Alto College Upward Bound partnered with Trinity University Upward Bound to provide students the Hill Country Science Mill experience. The Hill Country Science Mill strives to "inspire the youth of today to discover scientific and technical principles relevant to their everyday lives." Students had the opportunity combine periodic elements to create molecules, program robots, explore the human body via CT Scan technology, create and control electrical systems,

40 students were selected to participate in this great opportunity based on their Upward Bound participation. #STEMcareers

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Upward Bound Incentive Trip

The Phantom of the Opera US Tour 2013 - HD Trailer | The Phantom of the Opera
We always encourage our Upward Bound students to strive for excellence and we know that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication; therefore, every year we like to reward our top standing students with an incentive trip.

This years incentive trip consisted of the "sold-out tour of The Phantom of the Opera" at the Majestic Theater in downtown San Antonio. Students in attendance truly enjoyed the cultural experience of having the opportunity to attend a Broadway show. For many of our students this was the first time attending a professional worldwide acclaimed musical.

Students are selected to attend the incentive trip based on their GPA and Upward Bound attendance/participation. The average GPA among those students selected this year was a 3.82. Congratulations!

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Financial Literacy Update

November’s session on Financial Literacy focused on the art of job hunting. As these students turn 16, many of them will seek part-time employment. Students were exposed to different techniques and practice skills that will help them obtain the job they seek. David Rodriguez, Financial Education Manager at Generations Federal Credit Union presented on these 8 steps to getting a job:

  • Know what you want
  • Find what you want
  • Make your job search manageable
  • Build a resume
  • Get yourself ready & prepared
  • Own the interview
  • Follow-up
  • Accept an offer

This interactive class had student’s role play, provide feedback to one another, and had them laughing at the real-life “fails” that are experienced by hiring managers to help them avoid those mistakes and instead learn the secrets to getting the job they deserve.

CONGRATULATIONS Ms. Raquel on being selected as PAC Staff Member of the Month! Thank you for everything you do for Upward Bound!

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Scholarship Opportunities & Resources

Upward Bound is constantly seeking resources to share with our Upward Bound families. Make sure to check out this link regularly for scholarship opportunities and resources.

Senior Parents Checklist

Senior year is all about...DEADLINES. Wondering what your senior should be doing this month? Check out the checklist below provided by collegeparents.org


  • The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will be available this month, but cannot be completed before January 1. This is the form you will complete to find out what financial aid you are eligible to receive from the government. Visit www.fafsa.ed.gov

  • Begin to organize regular decision application and financial aid forms, which will be due in January and/or February.

  • Register for the January ACT/SAT (if needed). It is the last one colleges will be able to consider for a senior.


  • Many popular and selective colleges will have application deadlines as early as January 1. Others have deadlines later in January and February. Keep track of and observe deadlines for sending in all required fees and paperwork.

  • If necessary, register for the February ACT (some colleges will be able consider it).

  • Ask your guidance office in January to send first semester transcripts to schools where you applied. At the end of the school year, they will need to send final transcripts to the college you will attend.

  • It is time to file the FAFSA (no later than Feb 1). The sooner you complete it, the sooner you will have an idea of your financial aid options. Watch the mail for your Student Aid Report (SAR)—it should arrive four weeks after the FAFSA is filed.

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Parent Resources

GroupMe Parent Communication Tool

GroupMe is a FREE messenger app that you can download on your smartphone. We have created an Upward Bound parents group that we will use to send brief updates, reminders, and links to the monthly newsletter.

Please see instructions below on how to download:

Please download the GroupMe app, for iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone. The app will walk you through the entire process.

Once you have downloaded the app, please click on this link to be added to the Upward Bound parents group: https://app.groupme.com/join_group/16842794/Iunppd

Parent University

Upward Bound Parent University is a series of 4 in-person workshops alongside monthly parent newsletter in order to engage and empower parents with the resources and tools to assist their future college students in the high school to college transition.

Parents will be awarded participation points for every Upward Bound Parent University workshop attended. Parents whom have participated in 90% or more of Upward Bound Parent University activities will receive an honorary certificate of completion. The parents whom have successfully completed the Parent University workshops may be eligible to receive a scholarship towards a Continuing Education (CE) course at Palo Alto College.

You may find more information regarding CE courses at the link provided:


Parent University Monthly Survey

Please click on the link below to submit your survey and receive your participation points.

Upward Bound at Palo Alto College Contact Information:

Anna Villarreal, Sr. Coordinator

avillarreal423@alamo.edu, 210.486.3192

Raquel Blanco-Ayala, Administrative Specialist

rblanco-ayala@alamo.edu, 210.486.3190

Anna Lisa Fernandez, Sr. Advisor

afernandez52@alamo.edu, 210.486.3193

Nicholas Lopez, Sr. Advisor

nlopez72@alamo.edu, 210.486.3194