The 31st Edition of the Step Up to College Guide is Here!

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The new digital format offers new, interactive activity pages for student convenience, as well as other resources.


Navigating the college admissions process can often be overwhelming for students and their families, especially during a pandemic. To help put students in grades 9-12 on the path to college during these uncertain times, Philadelphia Futures distributed Step Up to College: A Guide to the College Preparation, Application, Admissions, and Financial Aid Processes in a new digital format. In addition to the digital Guide, Philadelphia Futures made available the activities which are in the Guide  highlighting the key principles of the Guide and the elements of the college application and college-bound process, which can be found at They are:  

Career Self-Assessment (p.7)
Create Your Action Plan (p.11)
Find Your Fit (p.20)
Questions to Ask on a College Visit (p.23)
PF Fit Form (pp. 24-25)
Revise and Proofread Your Essay (p.37)
Track Your College Applications (p.38)
College Cost Calculator (p.48)
Family Checklist (p.55)
9th and 10th Checklist (p.56)
11th Grade Checklist (p.57)
12th Grade Checklist (p.58)

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

Due to the coronavirus pandemic this year, Philadelphia Futures has offered this new, interactive digital version of the Guide. However, print copies will be distributed to schools and the community at a later date.

Step Up to College resources are made available 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 31st edition of the Guide:

Arcadia University
Bryn Mawr College
Cabrini University
Community College of Philadelphia
Dickinson College
Gettysburg College
Gwynedd Mercy University
Millersville University
Muhlenberg College
Penn State University
Saint Joseph’s University
Temple University
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh
University of the Sciences
Ursinus College
Villanova University
West Chester University

“For 31 years, Philadelphia Futures’ Step Up to College Guide has provided tools and resources for students to move forward to their future and gain a college education,” said Christen Johnson, Director of Outreach and Engagement. “Step Up to College has continued to evolve to meet the needs of students and their families. This year, by publishing the Guide digitally and offering new, interactive ways to complete the activities online, our goal is to ensure all students have what they need to be successful when applying to college and when making the transition to college, despite the many obstacles of working and learning in a remote environment. We are proud to make the Step Up to College Guide and its accompanying digital resources available, without cost, to ensure no barriers to access.”

In addition to the print edition, Philadelphia Futures also makes available a suite of Step Up to College digital resources, including videos, a Twitter and Facebook page and a mobile app.

To celebrate the launch of the digital Guide, Philadelphia Futures celebrated Step Up to College Week during the week of October 26th. Throughout the week, there were opportunities to engage on social media and videos were posted each day featuring students, PF staff, and college staff members highlighting specific topics of the Guide, including: 

Why College?
How I Am Finding My Fit
Applying to College
Financial Aid 101
Understanding College 

View all of the videos by clicking here. Check out Step Up to College Week on Philadelphia Futures’ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Linkedin, as well as Step Up to College’s Facebook and Twitter

For more information about Step Up to College, visit


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