Professional, Financial, & Relational Success for Your Young Adult

Give your student the skills, experience, and community they need to launch into adulthood with confidence and excitement.

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What is Ascend?

Ascend trains students with the skills they need to be successful professionally and relationally while traveling around the country, completing robust projects in fields they’re interested in, meeting new friends, and getting a job, guaranteed. 


Hear from Parents

Ascend was the perfect program for our daughter who wanted to. . .seek leadership opportunities and be immersed in a community which espoused a Christian worldview. I have enjoyed seeing my daughter build lifelong friendships while gaining self confidence and discovering new gifts.

Nicholas C.,

Student Parent

As the parent. . . I can honestly say this community has been life changing for my son and our family. . . No matter who you are you will find friends and support in this group. And you will receive a fantastic education in both academics and life.

Rebecca L.,

Student Parent

I love when my girls talk about what they’re experiencing and I also enjoy overhearing the teaching! The result of being challenged in a Christ-focused direction has great value. Love the leadership, thoughts and relationships cultivated.

Dawn S.,

Student Parent

There are plenty of programs to teach information and knowledge, but precious few that teach life application and wisdom - especially from a Christian worldview.  I have seen my six children all grow through this program - each of whom emerged uniquely stronger (intellectually, emotionally, spiritually) and better prepared for life than the other young adults I see all around me.  Initially, I was a skeptic - now an enthusiastic advocate!

Michael S.,

Student Parent


How it Works

Your student’s Ascend Team will be comprised of 8-10 other Ascend students and will meet once a month for coaching, support, and accountability. Each team is led by an Ascend Team Leader (ATL). ATL’s are Ascend alumni who have been intensively trained in coaching, leadership, and academic support.

Read more about Ascend Teams and ATLs by clicking here.

Each month in Ascend your student will attend an Expert-Led Webinar in addition to their Ascend Team meeting. These webinars give students a chance to hear from intentionally selected field experts and see how what they are learning is realistically and successfully applied in the real world. 

Read more about Expert-Led Webinars by clicking here.

Ascend students attend three live student events held in Michigan, Alabama, and Colorado. These events happen in August, January, and April. Event registration, room & board are all included in tuition for Ascend students. Plus free travel to APEX, the first or final event of the year depending on when your student enrolls.

Read more about Live Student Events by clicking here.

During the first 4-weeks of their Ascend enrollment, your student will brainstorm ideas for their Ascend Project and submit final ideas to their ATL. During the Spring semester, your student will begin executing their project, submitting status updates to their ATL along the way for feedback. At the end of April, they will submit their final, completed project to their ATL.

Read more about Hands-On Projects by clicking here.

Over the course of the year, your student will complete a series of life and leadership courses that cover topics including life purpose, decision-making, how to find work you love, and how to develop and practice critical leadership skills, all from a Biblical perspective.

Read more about Life & Leadership Courses by clicking here.

Upon successful completion of their year in Ascend, your student will receive two elite certificates: one in leadership and the other in professional development and life skills training. These certificates signal to employers the kind of real-world education your student received through Ascend and their qualification for bigger challenges. 

Read more about the Professional Development opportunities through Ascend by clicking here.



Ascend Teams communicate daily via a private chat platform called Slack and also get together for regular video calls with each other, unofficial in-person events, and have innumerable ad-hoc conversations throughout the year.

Through Slack, students have access to their fellow teammates, the greater Ascend class, as well as their Ascend Team Leaders (ATLs), and the Ascend staff team.

Ascend Teams are led by Ascend Team Leaders (ATLs). ATLs are Ascend alumni or older students who have applied for, been accepted, and are specifically trained to lead a team. ATLs complete ongoing training throughout the program as well that enables them to continue building and improving their leadership skills.

Ascend teams meet monthly via Zoom to discuss the monthly webinar, support each other through their courses and projects, and receive coaching and mentorship from their ATLs specific to where they are in life and what kinds of decisions they are facing.

Webinars are held a set time each month. Typically, they are scheduled for 7:30pm EST on the second Tuesday evening of the month. Webinars are also recorded and made available to students following the live presentation. However, students are required to attend at least 6 webinars live.

Past webinar speakers include: 

  • Missionary & photographer, Atalie Bale
  • Strategic marketing expert, Ben Billups
  • Bestselling author, Hannah Brencher
  • Financial consultant, Jim Smith
  • Management & leadership coach, Carissa Gay
  • Former law enforcement officer, Donald Emmack
  • Speaker, podcaster, and preacher, Nathan Rittenhouse
  • Former CFO and COO, Joe Denner

And many more!

Basecamp is held in Gulf Shores, AL January 18-22, 2023.

Capstone is held in Estes Park, CO April 22-26, 2024.

APEX is held in Lake City, MI August 19-23, 2023.

All dates and locations are subject to slight changes.

Students will complete three 8-week leadership courses, The Signature Leadership Courses, online that are accessed through Canvas and have weekly deadlines. These courses are completed one at a time with no overlap.

Students will also complete a self-paced 16-week life-purpose and decision-making course, Navigate, that includes two optional live sessions. Students will start this course at the beginning of their Ascend enrollment.

Students will also complete one live life course about finding work they love with bi-weekly live sessions held on Tuesday evenings at 7:30pm EST. (exact dates for this course will be released closer to the start of the Spring semester)

Past Ascend students have:

  • Planned and hosted a fundraiser masquerade ball for a local anti-human trafficking organization, raising $52k. Click here to watch the story.
  • Wrote, filmed, and produced a short-film to raise awareness for depression. Click here to watch the film.
  • Built a skin-on canoe for a four-day river trip.
  • Trained for and ran a Tough Mudder obstacle course. Click here to watch the story.
  • Organized and ran Bible study intensives for their local communities.
  • Built and launched a local pet and house-sitting business.
  • Choreographed, performed, and recorded a dance piece depicting the story of Revelation 11:3–13.
  • Hosting an outdoor survival camp for 5–6 young men, teaching the four essentials of wilderness survival.
  • Studied for and obtained their Real Estate license.

And many more!

No, that is not a requirement. During your student’s first month in Ascend they will complete a 4-week project-intensive during which they will brainstorm, submit ideas to their ATL, and receive approval for their final project.

Students complete the execution phase of their project during the Spring semester following the Basecamp event.

It depends on the project. We have students complete individual and team projects every year and both are options.


Student's Favorite Things About Ascend

Building the absolute best friendships I've ever had and learning together. Being there with people through the good and the bad.

Alexandra F.,


Being a part of a wonderful community of some of the kindest, most loving people I've met and creating friendships and experiences I'll treasure forever.

Malielani M.,


Definitely the community.  The courses  were interesting,  but also challenging at times, and it was really helpful to have that support system.

Elizabeth P.,


The people 100%.

Chloe S.,


The people by far. All the teaching, lessons, book reading, and webinars wouldn’t be the same without the staff, ATLs, Alumni, and classmates.

Jesse K.,


I enjoyed all in person events as it allows me to have a break from my normal "life" and have a time to solely focus on learning and growth.

Andrew C.,



Get a Job...Guaranteed

Ascend is designed so that your student can make back the entire financial investment within one year of completing one year of the program. As an Ascend student, your young adult will have exclusive access to professional opportunities through Unbound endorsed organizations who are specifically interested in hiring our students*. With professional skills, a foundation in financial literacy, a resume-worthy project, and a community of support, your student will be able to launch confidently into adulthood.

*Opportunities may include both remote and location-based positions.


Student's Top 3 Takeaways from Last Year

  1. Resilience can be difficult to build, but it’s very rewarding! 
  2. Having hope isn’t necessarily something that’ll just “happen”; you have to be purposefully building and working on it.
  3. You really do get out of Ascend what you’re willing to put into it.

Faith S.,


  1. Mistakes are okay, as long as you learn from them and keep moving forward! 
  2. It is really important to be surrounded by people who are similar and also different from you and to hear from them, as we were made to be in communities.
  3. Being passionate and extraordinary in the little, mundane things is so important, as it sets up the trajectory of your attitude and outlook towards a lot of bigger things in life.

Abby K.,


  1. Be intentional with your time and your relationships.
  2. Failing at something the first time does not define YOU as a failure.
  3. Community can be anywhere not just immediately around you.

Emilee C.,


  1. I can be a leader in any situation, whether I have the position of leadership or not.
  2. Decisions don’t need to be stressful. I can prayerfully choose a direction and trust that God will work out my destination.
  3. New friends!

Gini C.,


  1. The importance of grit and resilience through hardship and struggles.
  2. The impact of strong friendships.
  3. How God uses strong Christian communities in times of struggle.

Alanna L.,


  1. Traveling on my own for the first time was nerve-racking but made me step out of my comfort zone- which was something I did a lot of and was super good for personal growth. 
  2. Spending time outside of events with Unbounders was a lot of fun and it’s cool to know people all over the country now!
  3. The people involved in Unbound put their all into everything they do, which isn’t very common nowadays, so it was refreshing to be involved with so many people who do!

Katelynn F.,



Enroll Today

Next start date: September 1, 2023

The Ascend Program

  • Coaching & Mentorship
  • Thriving Community
  • Three Live Student Events
  • Project-Based Professional Development
  • Christian Leadership Training
  • High-Level Certificates in Leadership & Professional Development
  • Job Guarantee


Hear More from Students

I’ve realized what leadership actually means, and I have been able to gain confidence in my ability to plan, coordinate, and execute projects. It’s an amazing program that teaches real-life skills that you won’t learn anywhere else.

Faith S.,

Ascend Student

Ascend is a program where you learn to have a question-based mindset, where you learn to ask questions and grow more in your understanding. Ascend has helped me realize that in order to be extraordinary at the ordinary, I need to learn to seek discomfort to grow, learn to ask questions to further my understanding and knowledge.

Andrew C.,

Ascend Student

Ascend has helped me to come out of my shell and not be as afraid to try new things. This is a place where you can be yourself and almost always find someone to laugh with you. They challenge you to do things that grow you and challenge you in new ways. It's also a great way to make friends and build connections.

Alexandra F.,

Ascend Student

I chose Ascend because it sounded like it incorporated an in-person community. . . and had much more of a life application emphasis than other programs. Connecting with people from around the country gave me a much higher motivation and encouragement than I would have otherwise. Also the leadership courses had a ton of impactful reading and discussing it with the others was very thought provoking and developed how I see and move in the world.

Jesse K.,

Ascend Student

Ascend has introduced me to some of the most extraordinary people in the world. The friendships I made in this past year are not fleeting or superficial; but rooted in a love for Jesus and passion for living life which promises longevity. I couldn't be more grateful.

Briley C.,

Ascend Student

Ascend changed the way I view my abilities. . . the way I view leadership, and the way I view time management. You seriously need to do Ascend, it'll change you for the better in many ways, and you'll never find a better community.

Colton J.,

Ascend Student

Ascend has pushed me outside of my comfort zone within a supportive network of friends. My critical thinking skills have improved and the relationships in my life have flourished because I have been given tools that have grown my character.

Tim F.,

Ascend Alumnus

The Ascend program has been a great fit for me. Ascend is not just a typical online college program. The community involved with the program is supportive and helpful! Ascend has been beneficial for me where I am right now and for the future. You're not just a number, you're a part of a community!

Madison T.,

Ascend Alumna

The Ascend program was an awesome experience! Not only was the content from the webinars amazing, but the in-person events were so valuable! The students on my team and in the whole class are still some of my closest friends. It was an honor to graduate alongside such genuine, intelligent, and exceptional people.

Tamma P.,

Ascend Alumna


Book Your Admissions Appointment


Cont. FAQs

Enrollment in Ascend costs $7,995. Tuition covers your student’s Ascend Team, Ascend Project, monthly coaching and webinars, registration to three live events plus travel to the first, access to the online Navigate life purpose course, registration for the online Signature Leadership Course Series, and daily access to their coach, teammates, fellow students, and program staff via Slack.

This depends entirely on the student. Each year we have a mix students who are finishing high school or already graduated. The best way to determine if your student can manage Ascend alongside high school is to talk to an admissions counselor about the time commitment. Click here to book a call!

Nope! Ascend is a remote program that give students the opportunity to build a network and form connections across the country while continuing to invest in their local communities, families, and churches.

Yes! We offer payment plans that allow you to pay for Ascend in up to 12 installments depending on how early you enroll. 

While ultimately it comes down to each individual student and their schedule, the vast majority of Ascend students work part or full time while completing the program. 

Each Ascend Team includes 8-10 students and one Ascend Team Leader.

Of course! While Ascend is not first and foremost a gap year program, it is designed with easy exit points after each year. 

Just one: that your student wants to enroll. It’s very important that each student who enrolls in Ascend wants to be here. We tell all students that their experience in Ascend is very likely to be extraordinary, but whether or not that happens is up to them and their willingness to show up and invest. 

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