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Northwest Missouri State University


Frequently Asked Questions

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What will it cost me and my family?

Nothing! Upward Bound Math & Science is funded entirely by a grant from the U.S. Education Department to Northwest. The only cost to the participant and family is the time and energy invested.

What kind of grades must I have to get in?

UBMS does NOT have a grade requirement for acceptance except that the participant must have taken and passed a college prep math and college prep science class each year of high school. We ask for your GPA because we must include it in the annual reports, but we do not make our acceptance decisions based on your grades.

What if my parents make too much money?

If your family taxable income exceeds the amount allowed for your family size in the Income Eligibility table, you still might be eligible as long as neither of your parents you live with has earned a bachelors degree. Two thirds of all the students we accept into UBMS must meet both the income requirement and the "first generation" requirement; the other third must meet at least one of those requirements. This means that you could still be accepted as part of this "other third".

What if my parents attended college?

If neither parent you live with has completed the four-year (bachelors) degree, you are still eligible under the "first generation" criterion. If either parent you live with has completed the bachelors degree, you still might be eligible if the taxable family income meets the requirements in the Income Eligibility table. (For explanation, see the answer immediately above this one.)

What if my parents didn't file income taxes last year?

All of the income requirements for UBMS are related to a family's taxable income. If the family did not earn enough taxable income to have to file taxes, you will be eligible, but UBMS will need evidence of the sources and amounts of the family's non-taxable income. (These could be from sources such as Aid to Dependent Children, Food Stamps, non-taxable Social Security benefits, etc.)

What if I like science (math), but am not good at math (science)?

If you like one area but not the other, you should still attend UBMS. You will still be in both the math and the science classes at UBMS, but these classes are hands-on and are not the "same old stuff" you take in school. We present a lot of topics not usually offered in all high schools, so you will still have a lot of opportunity to enjoy the classes. Perhaps you might even change your mind about what you DO like.

Do I have to be "nominated" by a teacher?

No. You may make the decision yourself to apply for UBMS; a teacher does not have to nominate you. However, UBMS does require that you have two recommendations (one from your math teacher and one from your science teacher). If you are not currently taking a math or a science class, you may have someone else supply one of the recommendations, or you may have a previous math or science teacher do the recommendation for you. The recommendation forms are part of the Application packet found on the UBMS web page or in your counselor's office.

I am a foster child (or ward of the court). Which family income do I use to determine if I'm eligible?

If you are a foster child or a ward of the state, you are "automatically" eligible for UBMS and do not have to submit family income tax information. However, UBMS will need to have the name and contact information of the legal guardian. In addition, the legal guardian must be the one to sign the application form, all of the permission forms and all statements certifying that the information submitted to UBMS is correct and accurate. In some cases, the legal guardian must give permission for the student to travel out of state either to attend UBMS or to go on the field trips.

What goes on at UBMS? What do we do?

As indicated on the UBMS website, participants attend various math, science, and technology classes, Foreign Language, Literature classes and Counseling during the daytime, Monday through Friday. In the evenings, we have group recreation, College Readiness, and study hours. On the weekends, we have trips to various places that support the curriculum and are also entertaining. There is also some time for attending church and for relaxing or for doing laundry. The schedule keeps participants busy, but they always find time to have fun and learn about each other.

What if I don't earn good grades at UBMS?

UBMS does not assign grades for the work done during the summer. Students are exposed to a variety of topics and usually find it fun and exciting to learn just for the sake of learning. UBMS does give pre-tests and post-tests, but these are to show growth during the summer session, not to assign grades.

Can I get high school or college credit for UBMS ?

No credit is available from UBMS for attending. (1) We do not go into enough depth in the classes to justify UBMS granting credit, and (2) we work with students from four different states and many different school districts so there is no agreement on exactly what would constitute a "credit." In some cases, individual schools could grant a student some credit based on reports the student may give to the school, but UBMS has no connection to the credit being granted or not.

How much will I have to study?

"Enough to learn what is being taught," and of course this varies from student to student. UBMS does not give grades or credit for classes, but students are expected to study for those classes. This may sound like a contradiction, but it is not. Most students have found that they are very interested in the subjects being taught and want to learn all they can about the topics. The schedule that UBMS uses has Study Hours for one and a half hours each evening, Monday through Thursday. Much of the work takes place in the classroom, so there is usually not a lot of work left to be completed outside of class. On the other hand, if students do not take the class work seriously, there will be consequences.

Can I go to UBMS, even if I don't plan to go to Northwest for college?

There is no connection between attending UBMS and attending college at Northwest. Most of the students who have attended UBMS here have gone on to whatever college or university offers the program that fits what they want to do for their career. Some have attended Northwest, but that is always the student's (family's) decision. In fact, UBMS is restricted by the grant's regulations from being used as a recruiting device for Northwest.

What will we do on the weekends?

Generally Saturdays are used for the weekend trips that the UBMS group takes, and Sundays are for attending church, doing laundry, cleaning rooms, recreation, and relaxation. Each Sunday evening we have a group meeting and go over the schedule of classes for the coming week.

My teachers may nominate me to attend Boys State/Girls State. Can I do this and also UBMS?

Yes. The U.S. Education Department makes a large investment in each UBMS member, so we want students to plan on being here all the time for the six weeks, if we select them. However, we recognize that certain other activities are also worthwhile. We will generally make allowance for students to miss one week of UBMS in order to attend Boys State or Girls State or HOBY. However, there is a caution to this. The first week is extremely important to helping students make the transition to UBMS activities and practices. Students should not miss that week if at all possible.

Requests to miss UBMS to attend other activities will be decided on a case-by-case basis. In most of those situations the answer will be "No, you must make a choice."

I have a summer job. Can I still work there during the program?

No. Again, the dollar investment by the U.S. Education Department is so large that we need to make sure students get all the benefits they can from it, including the socialization activities that take place in the evenings and on the weekends. However, many employers are willing to make adjustments as much as they can in order for a student to take advantage of this sort of educational opportunity. Also, UBMS is a "once in a lifetime opportunity" whereas you will have your whole life to work.

Can I still attend a sports/music camp in the summer?

Requests to miss UBMS to attend other camps will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Many factors will be considered when deciding if UBMS would allow you to miss a few days for another camp. In many cases, the applicant will have to make a deicision whether 6 weeks of UBMS is more important than one week at another camp. Life is full of choices and this could be another life lesson in making choices. 

How many people can apply/attend from one school?

There is no limit to how many may apply from one school or how many may be selected from the same school. We try to look at each application individually, and make the selection decisions based on the merits of the individual application. We have had more than one participant from the same school several times in the past.

What happens if I get sick?

UBMS participants who become ill are taken to a doctor or to the Emergency Room as indicated by their symptoms and history.  Our UBMS students' health and well-being is taken seriously and we will do all that is possible to see that students are healthy. Parents are ultimately responsible for the student's medical costs, but UBMS does carry accident insurance on the participants through the University's insurance carrier, and this may help offset costs. UBMS will notify parents about serious illness.

What happens if I get homesick?

In many cases the UBMS summer session may be the first time the participant has been away from home and family for any length of time, and this can create homesickness on the part of the student as well as his/her family. Homesickness may also arise even though the student and family may have been "separated" before. To deal with the homesickness, it is important to realize that most participants feel homesick at some point during the six weeks of the program, so the student is not "alone" in feeling that way. Attending UBMS is sort of a "practice run" for students to be away at college, so it is important that students (and parents) learn how to deal with the feelings that arise.

Parents may visit the student on Sunday. This is a day which has a more relaxed schedule. Knowing that parents and close family can visit on Sunday makes it easier to overcome the feeling of homesickness.

The most effective way of dealing with homesickness is to keep busy and involved in engaging activities. Also the participants may help overcome their homesick feelings by interacting and socializing with other participants, the counseling group or counselor, or their family RT. Often sharing one's feelings may create support from others, as well as support for others. We also recommend that students email or call their parents, and it also helps to realize that all students will go on a "Home Visit" the third or fourth weekend, so the separation is not "permanent."

If UBMS lasts for just six weeks, what do we do the rest of the time?

The UBMS summer session is six weeks long and is the very heart of the program. During the school year following the summer session, participants attend their own schools and take math and science classes so that they will be prepared to attend college and be successful. During the school year participants will also meet with their mentor, will work on a project of their choosing (approved by the UBMS staff) with the guidance of their mentor. Students and their mentors may earn a stipend during the school year based on these activities.

What are the UBMS students like?

What are you like? At the beginning of UBMS, the participants are regular high school students with the usual variety of likes and dislikes. The biggest distinction between them and other high school students is that UBMS participants have an interest in math and science and a desire to be prepared for college. After attending UBMS, the participants are much more confident in themselves and their abilities, and more "certain" that they can be successful. In addition, at the end of the summer session, most participants claim that the other participants are 50 new friends and the UBMS staff members are mentors and friends.

My parents' car is not very reliable. How can I get there?

When it is time for the invited students to attend Orientation or, later, to attend the the summer program, UBMS pays round-trip mileage for the participants to come to campus. UBMS will pay this mileage to whomever can bring the student, whether it is a parent or someone else. There have been instances when a family did not have transportation and a schoolteacher or counselor would bring the student. In the event that transportation for a student is a problem and the student cannot arrange for someone to bring them, UBMS staff will attempt to coordinate a shared ride with another participant and his/her family. If this is a concern for you, please let us know ASAP.

How can I get an application?

Students may apply to UBMS in either of two ways. The student may (1) obtain an application from their public school counselor or (2) they may download a copy of the application. The application may be completed on your computer before you print it off. We recommend that you carefully consider your answers to the 3 short essays before submitting them to UBMS. These essays help us get to know your needs and how UBMS can benefit you. Just remember that the postmark deadline for the application is February 14.

After I have applied, when will I hear whether I am accepted?

When UBMS receives an application, we respond to the student as soon as possible with a letter indicating what is missing from the application or stating that the application is complete. Following the Feb. 14 deadline for receiving the applications, UBMS reviews all the applications and issues invitations to Orientation. In February or March, students should find out whether they are being invited to Orientation in April. Then, following April Orientation, the application materials are again reviewed, final decisions are made, and selected students are invited to be participants for the summer session. These invitations are issued in April and May. (For more detail, see the timeline in the Calendar section.)

How much money should I bring to UBMS?

There is no single answer to this question. It depends on the individual student. While at UBMS, students will earn a stipend (allowance) of up to $15.00 per week by attending scheduled classes and making the effort to learn. All room, board, class expenses, admissions on weekend trips, and meal costs are paid by UBMS except for the cost of your laundry supplies. The washers and dryers at Northwest are availble for the student to use without charge.  However, if the student drinks soda pop or eats snacks outside of meal times or wants to buy souvenirs on the weekend trips, he/she will need to bring money to cover those extra costs. We recommend that students not have much extra cash so that there is no "temptation" for others. Students may cash checks from their parents in University offices, if the need arises.

Can I bring my pet?

By University policy, the only kind of pet allowed in University housing is fish.

What kind of project do I have to do?

By attending UBMS, the student agrees to work on a project during the school year following the UBMS summer session. The student may be creative in selecting the "right" project. The project should be something that the student is interested in and will follow through to completion. The project could be an extension of something touched upon during the summer, or something else that the student is interested in. We want the project to be more than just a class assignment; that is, we want the student to go further than is required of the usual student. UBMS projects may also be used for school science fairs or 4-H projects, if the rules for those activities allow. The student's mentor also may provide specific suggestions for a project. The project should involve math, science or computer knowledge.

Who will be my mentor?

The UBMS staff has identified a teacher in your high school who uses math, science, or technology regularly and who establishes positive relationships with students. That teacher will contact you to set up your first meeting soon after school starst in the fall.

What does the mentor do?

We purposely leave the "definition" of a mentor's duties open-ended so that the relationship between you and the mentor may develop as the individual situation dictates. However, in addition to sending reports to UBMS on report forms we provide, the mentor meets with you (outside of regular class time) to discuss items of interest or concern, or to see how you are progressing in academic work. You may get together to do some activity that is of interest to both of you, such as visit a museum or zoo. The mentor may provide career-related information or advice about selecting a college based on your particular career interests. The mentor may also assist in applying to colleges. The mentor may offer advice and direction with your project, or might assist in researching what project to select.