Step Up to College

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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, 72-page Step Up to College Guide is tailored to Philadelphia’s students in grades nine to twelve, their families, and youth-serving professionals, leading them through each stage of the college admissions process — from understanding college admission options, to writing application essays, from conquering the FAFSA to making the college “fit” decision.

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.

Features of the 29th edition of Step Up to College include: 

  • A step-by-step approach to becoming college-ready and college-bound. 
  • Robust, up-to-date resources and information on the college application and financial aid processes. 
  • Highlights from five higher education graduates whose decision to go to college changed the trajectory of their lives. 
  • Reflections from six recent Philadelphia high school graduates on what made their college choice the right "fit." 
  • Easy-to-follow, grade-specific checklists and hands-on activities. 

The free Step Up to College Mobile App 

The Step Up to College mobile app provides students, families and youth-serving professionals with enriched access to key components of the Step Up to College Guide whenever and wherever needed.  

Interactive features of the mobile app include:   SUTCMobileApp

  • A “fit” form to help students qualitatively and quantitatively compare colleges’ academic, social and financial fit;
  • the ability to record responses to questions asked on college visits; 
  • tools to help brainstorm, write and proofread college essays;
  • a college cost calculator that allows students to analyze and compare financial aid offers; and 
  • the ability to track each step of the college admissions process. 
The app may be downloaded for free via the iPhone App Store or Google Play.

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.


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.

Social Media

Daily posts and tweets provide timely tips and links to important resources and information about the college-going process, including helpful websites, informative news articles and information about local college fairs and open houses.  

You can download the complete PDF of the Guide on the Step Up to College website by clicking here

To request a copy of the Step Up to College Guide, please fill out this form. 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 2018-2019 edition of the Guide:

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 be promoted on the Facebook and Twitter pages.

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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