News & Events

The 2015 Step Up to College Guide Is Now Available

Cover Final Guide 2015 WebPhiladelphia Futures has released its 26th edition of Step Up to College: Philadelphia's Guide to the College Preparation, Application, Admissions & Financial Aid Processes – a 66-page resource book designed to lead high school students and their families through each stage of the college admissions and financial aid processes, from understanding college fit, to writing application essays, from navigating the FAFSA to transitioning to life on a college campus.

In October 2015, Philadelphia Futures began distributing 42,000 print copies of Step Up to College to every public, public charter and parochial high school in Philadelphia, the Free Library of Philadelphia, government offices and community-based organizations. To eliminate any barriers to access, Philadelphia Futures makes Step Up to College available without cost.

The theme of this year's edition is "The Path to College Starts Here." Highlights of the 2015-2016 Guide 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 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.

A complete PDF version of the Guide can be downloaded from the Step Up to College website at

"There is much public discourse currently about the cost of college and equal access to higher education for first-generation-to-college students, however, there is often less focus on the "nuts and bolts" of the college admissions process," said Joan C. Mazzotti, Executive Director, Philadelphia Futures. "By publishing the Guide, Philadelphia Futures provides students with the tools and information they need to identify a school that is the right fit academically, socially and financially and prepare themselves to be a competitive applicant and a successful college student. We are proud to make the Step Up to College Guide and its accompanying digital resources available to Philadelphia's students. I encourage the City's high school students – in every grade – to embrace all it has to offer."

Step Up to College Digital Resources

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: 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. 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. A trailer for the Video Series can be viewed at

#2: Website
The Step Up to College website is accessible at In addition to hosting the Video Series, the website features a college-going calendar, updated monthly tips and listings of college prep resources.

#3: Text Alerts
Students, families and educators can sign-up for important reminders about the college-going process by texting the keyword StepUptoCollege to 41411.

#4: Social Media
Daily tweets and posts provide tips and links to important resources and information about the college-going process.

This year’s publication and distribution of the Guide is made possible through the support of 12 Pennsylvania colleges and universities and Army ROTC, which are featured in the publication.