Step Up to College: A Guide to the College Preparation, Application, Admissions, and Financial Aid Processes is the #1 college admissions resource for college-bound students and their families. Step Up to College is annually published and distributed by Philadelphia Futures and is tailored to students in grades 9 to 12 and their families, leading them through each stage of the college admissions process.

Every October, forty-two thousand copies of Step Up to College are distributed to public, public charter, and parochial high schools, branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia, government offices, and many community-based organizations. To eliminate any barriers to access, Step Up to College is distributed without cost.

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Step Up to College Celebrates 30 Years!

The 2019-2020 Step Up to College Guide will mark the 30th edition! For 30 years, the Guide has been a critical college-going resource for high school students, families, and youth-serving professionals with a wide range of critical college information and resources — from understandiGuide_Cover_2019ng college admission options, to writing application essays, from conquering the FAFSA to making the right college “fit” decision.

Features of the 30th edition of Step Up to College will 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 high school graduates on what made their college choice the right “fit;” and
  • easy-to-follow, grade-specific checklists and hands-on activities.

To request copies of the 2019-2020 Guide, please fill out this form.

The 2020 Rising Senior Edition is Here!

SUTCSummerSupplementThe Rising Senior Edition is the Summer Supplement to Philadelphia Futures’ Step Up to College Guide. The Supplement informs juniors entering their senior year about the steps they need to take during the summer to prepare for the college admissions process. Like the Guide, the Rising Senior Edition is available to juniors and their families without cost.

New This Year! Updated Step Up to College Videos


In honor of the 30th anniversary, Philadelphia Futures launched a new Step Up to College video series, highlighting the key principles of the Guide and the elements of the college application and college-bound process, including:

Back in 2014, Philadelphia Futures launched the first series of the Step Up to College videos. These three videos are approximately 30 minutes long and cover the topics of Preparing for College, Understanding College Fit, and Applying to College. The new SUTC videos, starring Philadelphia Futures collegians who have recently navigated the college-going process, are offered in shorter segments, ranging from one to four minutes, and provide the opportunity to learn each segment of the Guide in smaller increments to ensure a better understanding and an easier way to share these important tips with other students on social media.


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 print edition of the Guide whenever and wherever needed.

Interactive features of the mobile app include:

  • a “fit” form to help students qualitatively and quantitatively compare schools’ 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 Step Up to College mobile app can be downloaded via the iPhone App Store or Google Play.

Step Up to College Funders

Step Up to College resources are made available to the Philadelphia community through the generous support of many sponsors. The following institutions and organizations have demonstrated their commitment to this important publication and the high school students of Philadelphia by supporting the 30th edition of the Guide:

  • Arcadia University
  • Army ROTC
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Cabrini University
  • Community College of Philadelphia
  • Dickinson College
  • Gettysburg College
  • Gwynedd Mercy University
  • Holy Family University
  • Lafayette College
  • Lycoming College
  • Millersville University
  • Muhlenberg College
  • Penn State University
  • Saint Joseph’s University
  • Temple University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of the Sciences
  • Ursinus College
  • Villanova University
  • West Chester University

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 a college degree. 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 are also able to add content to the Facebook and Twitter pages. Print sponsors have the option to advertise here on the Step Up to College page.

To learn more about supporting Step Up to College, please contact