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A taste of college life

50 years of Project Uplift

For five decades, Project Uplift has given rising high school seniors a small taste of college life — they sleep in a residence hall, eat in a dining hall, attend classes and interact with faculty, staff and students.

Project Uplift Scholars immerse themselves in college life and experience the academic rigor of a four-year institution while also seeing the social and cultural opportunities higher education has to offer.

Sponsored by the University Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the intense two-day program brings high-achieving and academically competitive students from underrepresented groups to Chapel Hill to help prepare them for the next chapter of their academic careers.

Press the play button to learn how Project Uplift is changing lives

The college experience

Project Uplift began in 1969 when a group of students wanted to enhance diversity on campus. Since then, tens of thousands of high school students have participated in the program. Many of the participants end up attending Carolina for college, but the program staff also encourages the participants to seek whatever university is the best fit for them.

Scholars take mock classes, meet with faculty and staff, learn about the admissions process and how financial aid works, meet with representatives from student organizations and participate in cultural experiences.

Students stand in a group during a tour.


Project Uplift has made me look at life from a different perspective. I feel more prepared for college, and I do not feel as nervous for the admissions process as I did before.

Maleea Shelby, a Project Uplift Scholar

Read more about Project Uplift

Students dance on stage.

By the numbers

From SAT/ACT prep and academic explorations to Franklin Street tours and a culture show, Project Uplift gives high school students a complete 360-degree view of life as a college student and helps prepare them for the academic challenges that wait ahead.

  • 1,154students participating in Project Uplift this summer
  • 120participating high schools
  • 20colleges and universities participate in the Project Uplift resources fair