LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Earning a college degree can be a difficult task, especially for those students who come from low-income homes or families where no one has earned a degree.
That's where Upward Bound comes in.
It's a federal program on University of Wisconsin-La Crosse's campus with those students in mind.
On Wednesday, high school freshmen in the area had the chance to learn more about the opportunity to make their college dreams come true.
Only 39 percent of students who come from families where no one has earned a degree actually end up finishing college.
Compare that to the more than 70 percent of students who complete their degree after going through the Upward Bound program at UW-La Crosse.
While the students are only freshmen in high school when they start the program, they prove it's never too early to start preparing for your future.
Molly Motylinski will be a freshman at Holmen high school this fall.
While she hasn't even kicked off her High School career yet, she already has her eyes on college.
"It's important because we'll get a better job, and in this economy, it will help to get a better job, and you'll have a better chance of getting accepted with a good college education," said Motylinski.
She was one of the nearly 20 high school freshmen at the Upward Bound open house at UW-La Crosse on Wednesday.
It's a federal program designed to help kids from low income families who would be the first in their families to earn a degree prepare for college.
"Students would join us the fall of their freshman year in high school, meeting with us weekly. They would have tutoring sessions with college-student staff working on rigorous high school curriculum, things they need to be getting ready for college," said Upward Bound Director Kate Oganowski.
It's help that Motylinski thinks she'll need to become the first in her family to earn a degree.
"They just help you so much. They'll help you with homework and projects and teach us time management," said Motylinski.
Along with the tutoring, students visit colleges, practice for entrance exams and learn about financial aid.
"They're nervous about the loans and the scholarship. We do help students look for scholarships," said Oganowski.
While the program is a big commitment, it's one Motylinski says will pay off.
"It's a big decision because it will help you make a big decision on where you want to go to college," said Motylinski. "I think it will really help because my parents will be supportive, but I think it will be helpful to have Upward Bound support me," said Motylinski.
In addition to all the tutoring and activities throughout the year, students stay at UW-L for six weeks every summer, taking classes.
The program is free.
Upward Bound accepts about 40 students, and the director says they still have space.
For information on how to apply, visit http://www.uwlax.edu/upbound/index.htm