The University Preparatory Program (UPP) is a California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) university-high school partnership that spans eight years of education from the ninth grade in high school through graduation from college. The goal is to increase the number of underrepresented minorities who graduate from college, preferably with degrees in Mathematics, Science, Engineering and Technology (MSET). UPP has been in existence at Lincoln High School since 1989 and at Garfield High School since 1996. These high schools serve students who are socially and economically disadvantaged and severely underrepresented in MSET based disciplines.
UPP focuses on the middle achieving students who generally do not receive any attention from special programs which usually are intended for either the highly achieving students or those at the other end of the spectrum who are in danger of dropping out of school or not graduating. This is a group that has significant potential to add to the nation's scientific workforce. The general approach followed by UPP is to change the expectations of the target population so that they plan to graduate from college and to provide them with the academic background and skills along with the necessary support and guidance to enable them to earn a B.S. degree. UPP requires that while in high school the students take at least three years of laboratory science and four years of mathematics. These courses reflect the curriculum standards as established by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and in science as currently under development by the National Research Council. We also require four years of college preparatory English and three of foreign language. The program also brings them on the CSULA campus as often as possible to allow them to become comfortable with the idea that they belong in college and to further introduce them to academic disciplines and careers in mathematics, science, engineering and technology.