Step Up to College


Published and distributed annually by Philadelphia Futures, Step Up to College: Philadelphia’s Guide to the College Preparation, Application, Admissions & Financial Aid Processes is the #1 college admissions resource for Philadelphia’s college-bound students and their families.

Designed with first-generation-to-college students in mind, the comprehensive, 66-page Step Up to College Guide is tailored to Philadelphia’s students in grades nine to twelve and their families, leading them through each stage of the college admissions process — from test preparation and identifying college choices, to writing application essays and understanding financial aid, to transitioning to college life. Philadelphia Futures distributes more than 40,000 print copies of the Step Up to College Guide – without cost to remove any barriers to access – to every public, public charter and parochial high school in Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, government offices and community-based organizations. The Step Up to College Guide has become a Philadelphia tradition, and a critical college guidance resource for students and their families, guidance counselors, educators and other youth-serving professionals who are supporting students’ college aspirations.

The theme of the 20152016 edition of the Step Up to College Guide is “The Path to College Starts Here.” Highlights include:

  • expanded offerings on understanding college “fit” and financial aid;
  • worksheets integrated throughout the Guide, including Philadelphia Futures’ popular “Fit” Form and College Cost Calculator;
  • grade-specific Checklists, including a Checklist for parents and guardians; and
  • tweets, posts and texts from the new Step Up to College Ambassadors.

The print edition of Step Up to College is accompanied by a suite of digital media resources – a Video Series, website, text alert system and social media pages. Like the print edition, these resources also are available without cost. With its content available online, Step Up to College has expanded its reach beyond Philadelphia.

1. Step Up to College Video Series
Three, 20-minute videos cover critical aspects of the college admissions process: Preparing for College, Understanding College Fit and Applying to College. The videos are accessible on the Step Up to College website and YouTube channel at PowerPoint presentations also are available on the website. The videos are designed to be used in the classroom, in community-based settings or for students and families to view directly on their own

2. Website
The Step Up to College website can be found at In addition to hosting the Video Series, the website features a college-going calendar, updated monthly tips and listings of Philadelphia-based and online college-going resources.

3. Text Alerts
Educators, students and families can sign-up to receive critical reminders about time-sensitive deadlines and tasks in the college-going process – including alerts about deadlines for SAT registration and FAFSA submission. Individuals can sign-up by texting the keyword StepUptoCollege to 41411.

4. Social Media
Student-serving professionals and families can stay abreast of content updates throughout the year by following Step Up to College on Facebook and Twitter. The daily Tweets and posts will provide tips and links to important resources and information.

A downloadable flyer about Step Up to College and its resources is accessible here. The complete PDF of the Guide can be found on the Step Up to College website at

To request a copy of the Step Up to College Guide or for any questions about the Step Up to College digital media resources, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 215.790.1666, ext. 425.


Step Up to College is published through the generous support of many sponsors. The following institutions and organizations demonstrate their commitment to this important publication and the students it serves by supporting the 20152016 edition of the Guide:

  • Arcadia University
  • Army ROTC
  • Community College of Philadelphia
  • Dickinson College
  • Drexel University
  • Harcum College
  • Lehigh University
  • Penn State University
  • Saint Joseph’s University
  • Temple University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of the Sciences
  • Villanova University

Show Your Support

Supporting Step Up to College is a meaningful way to partner with Philadelphia Futures and support its effort to provide Philadelphia’s high school students with the tools and resources they need to pursue education beyond high school.

Benefits of Supporting Step Up to College

Step Up to College offers funders tremendous outreach opportunities to the Philadelphia community and exposure to a large audience of students and their families.

College and university supporters are featured in our college profile section and have the opportunity to promote their institution through written text and campus photos.

Supporters also are featured on the Step Up to College website, and have the opportunity to add content to the Facebook and Twitter pages and text message updates.

To learn more about supporting Step Up to College, please contact Bonnie Dugan, Director of Communications, at 215.790.1666, ext. 422 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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