4 Live Events | Hands-On Projects | Practical Skills Training

Training Young Adults
to Thrive through
Project-Based Higher Education

4 Live Events | Hands-On Projects | Practical Skills Training

Training Young Adults
to Thrive through
Project-Based Higher Education

4 Live Events | Hands-On Projects
Practical Skills Training

Training Young Adults
to Thrive through
Project-Based Higher Education

START HERE

What is Ascend?

Ascend is a remote-hybrid, 1-3 year leadership and professional development program. Ascend students gain a network and community for life, develop practical skills through resume-worthy projects that put them ahead in the job market, and have the opportunity to earn high-level certificates and (if they need it) a college degree. 

START HERE

What is Ascend?

START HERE

What is Ascend?

Ascend is a remote-hybrid, 1-3 year leadership and professional development program. Ascend students gain a network and community for life, develop practical skills through resume-worthy projects that put them ahead in the job market, and have the opportunity to earn high-level certificates and (if they need it) a college degree. 

Ascend is a 1-3 year leadership and professional development program. Students attend 4 live events held for 5 days every 12 weeks. Each event delivers hands-on training in personal and professional development, time and task management, resilience, healthy relationships

FAST FACTS

How Does it Work?

FAST FACTS

How Does it Work?

Quarterly Live Events

Ascend students attend four live events held for five days every twelve weeks throughout the year. In August, students attend our orientation event, APEX. APEX is followed by three intensives in personal and professional skills (Basecamp), teamwork and project execution (Ridgeline), and Christian leadership (Capstone).
Learn more!
Here from event speakers, student parents, and students themselves in the APEX recap video from 2023.
Click Here

Projects & Teams

Ascend's team structure and ambitious project requirements challenge students to build critical life and professional skills while gaining hands-on experience in fields that interest them. In between each live event, Ascend students prepare for the next through subject-matter-expert (SME) webinars, life purpose and leadership courses, and team meetings to move their projects forward.
Learn more!
Explore student projects by clicking the button below!
Click Here

Courses & Certificates

Ascend offers three enrollment options including a certificate track for students exploring their interests, a specialty track for students seeking skill-specific training to monetize their creative interests, and a debt-free degree track for students pursuing college. A student's track selection determines the work-load they will have between events.
Learn more!
Jump to the enrollment options by clicking the button below!
Click Here

THE GUARANTEE

What are the Results?

When an Ascend student completes the third and final year of the program, having successfully earned each Ascend certificate, they graduate with the official Ascend employment guarantee. We do not believe a successful Ascend student will graduate from our program, move into the job market, and not be able to find work. If we’re wrong? All your money back, guaranteed. 

Click here to read the Ascend employment guarantee.

THE GUARANTEE

What are the Results?

When an Ascend student successfully completes all three years of the program they graduate with the official Ascend Employment Guarantee. We do not believe a successful Ascend student will graduate from our program, move into the job market, and not be able to find work. If we’re wrong? All your money back, guaranteed. 

“The leadership training and opportunity for my son has been excellent. It is impacting his career and ministry plans. The relationships he has formed are also very impactful.”
Tracy R.
Ascend Parent

NEXT STEPS

NEXT STEPS

How to Get Started

How to Get Started

How to Get Started

STEP 1

Book an
Admissions Call

The admissions process for Ascend starts with a consultation call to determine if your student is a good fit for the program. These calls last 20-30 minutes, give both you and the counselor a chance to ask questions, and wrap up in one of three ways: enrollment, scheduling a follow-up call, or sending you in a direction better suited for your student.

STEP 2

Enroll
in Ascend

When you enroll, you will complete two steps with your counselor: payment for a $1,000 deposit and, if applicable, scheduling an academic coaching call. After enrollment, you will receive a form in your inbox to complete your student’s profile. Your student’s academic coach will provide all the details they needs for their upcoming academic and life courses.

STEP 3

Team Assignment
& Access to Slack

At the beginning of the Ascend year in August, your student will receive their Ascend Team assignment and get access to our private chat platform, Slack. Slack is where your student will connect with the rest of the class, the Ascend Team Leader (ATL), and Unbound staff. Ascend Teams are comprised of 8-10 other Ascend students and led by an ATL. 

STEP 1

Book an Admissions Call

The admissions process for Ascend starts with a consultation call to determine if your student is a good fit for the program. These calls last 20-30 minutes, give both you and the counselor a chance to ask questions, and wrap up in one of three ways: enrollment, scheduling a follow-up call, or sending you in a direction better suited for your student.

STEP 2

Enroll in Ascend

When you enroll, you will complete two steps with your counselor: payment for a $1,000 deposit and, if applicable, scheduling an academic coaching call. After enrollment, you will receive a form in your inbox to complete your student’s profile. Your student’s academic coach will provide all the details they needs for their upcoming academic and life courses.

STEP 4

Attend
APEX

In August, Ascend will kick off with the first of four live events, APEX. APEX is held in Carolina Point, North Carolina August 11-15. For year one students, APEX is an orientation for Ascend. As a highlight event that takes place before the semester even starts, APEX is where students are first introduced to the key principles and relational culture behind Ascend. 

Click here to watch the recap video from APEX 2023/2024!

STEP 5

Team Meetings
& SME Webinars

Each month in Ascend your student will attend a Subject-Matter Expert (SME) webinar and an  Ascend Team meeting. On team meetings ATL’s help students set and achieve educational and personal goals for the year. On SME webinars, students hear from intentionally selected field experts who share their experiences, lessons they have learned, and personal perspectives on student questions.

STEP 6

Courses & Project Brainstorming

As the fall kicks off, students begin brainstorming their Ascend Project and start their courses (beginning with Unbound’s life purpose course, Navigate.) Depending on whether your student is enrolled on the certificate, still deciding, or debt-free degree path, they will also begin their first general education course or the first Signature Leadership Course.

STEP 3

Team Assignment
& Access to Slack

At the beginning of the Ascend year in August, your student will receive their Ascend Team assignment and get access to our private chat platform, Slack. Slack is where your student will connect with the rest of the class, the Ascend Team Leader (ATL), and Unbound staff. Ascend Teams are comprised of 8-10 other Ascend students and led by an ATL. 

STEP 4

Attend
APEX

In August, Ascend will kick off with the first of four live events, APEX. APEX is held in Carolina Point, North Carolina August 11-15. For year one students, APEX is an orientation for Ascend. As a highlight event that takes place before the semester even starts, APEX is where students are first introduced to the key principles and relational culture behind Ascend. 

Click here to watch the recap video from APEX 2023/2024!

STEP 5

Attend Team Meetings
& Expert-Led Webinars

Each month in Ascend your student will attend a Subject-Matter Expert (SME) webinar and an  Ascend Team meeting. On team meetings ATL’s help students set and achieve educational and personal goals for the year. On SME webinars, students hear from intentionally selected field experts who share their experiences, lessons they have learned, and personal perspectives on student questions.

STEP 6

Start Your Courses & Project Brainstorming

As the fall kicks off, students begin brainstorming their Ascend Project and start their courses (beginning with Unbound’s life purpose course, Navigate.) Depending on whether your student is enrolled on the certificate, still deciding, or debt-free degree path, they will also begin their first general education course or the first Signature Leadership Course.

STEP 7

Attend
Basecamp

In late October/early November, students attend the Basecamp event in Florida or Alabama. Basecamp is a 5-day hands-on practical skills intensive where your student will learn to strategically manage their time and tasks. Basecamp is also an orientation to the execution phase of student’s Ascend Projects. 

Click here to watch the recap video for Basecamp 2023/2024!

STEP 8

Project
Execution

In the spring semester students bring their Ascend Project to life and put their plan into action through three steps:

  1. Submit their project proposal to their ATL
  2. Receive final approval for their project and begin executing
  3. Submit three project status updates to their ATL in February, March, and April

STEP 9

All-New Ascend Event

Starting in the 2024/2025 Ascend year, students will attend an all new Ascend event held in late January. With the addition of this event, Ascend students will attend a live event every 12 weeks. This new Ascend event will focus on what it means to live a resilient life. Location and exact dates coming soon!

STEP 7

Attend Basecamp

In late October/early November, students attend the Basecamp event in Florida or Alabama. Basecamp is a 5-day hands-on practical skills intensive where your student will learn to strategically manage their time and tasks. Basecamp is also an orientation to the execution phase of student’s Ascend Projects. 

Click here to watch the recap video for Basecamp 2023/2024!

STEP 8

Project Execution

In the spring semester students bring their Ascend Project to life and put their plan into action through three steps:

  1. Submit their project proposal to their ATL
  2. Receive final approval for their project and begin executing
  3. Submit three project status updates to their ATL in February, March, and April

STEP 10

Attend
Capstone

As the spring semester begins to wrap up, students will attend Capstone, held in Colorado at the end of April. Capstone is not only the final event of the year, but it is also a critical part of the final Signature Leadership Course. Your student’s course instructor, Dr. Jeff Myers, will attend live, present several lectures, and run a live coaching and mentorship practicum. 

Click here to watch the recap video for Capstone 2022/2023!

STEP 11

Complete
Projects

In May your student will complete their Ascend Project with three final steps:

  1. Complete a peer review and make all final edits
  2. Submit their final project report to their ATL
  3. Receive a final review and notes from their ATL

STEP 12

Complete Courses & Certificates

At the beginning of June your student will complete any final assignments for their courses and attend the final Ascend Webinar. For all students who complete each aspect of the program, they will earn two high-level certificates in leadership and professional development. These certificates will set your student apart from their traditionally educated peers and ahead in the job market.

STEP 9

Attend an All-New
Ascend Event

Starting in the 2024/2025 Ascend year, students will attend an all new Ascend event held in late January. With the addition of this event, Ascend students will attend a live event every 12 weeks. This new Ascend event will focus on what it means to live a resilient life. Location and exact dates coming soon!

STEP 10

Attend
Capstone

As the spring semester begins to wrap up, students will attend Capstone, held in Colorado at the end of April. Capstone is not only the final event of the year, but it is also a critical part of the final Signature Leadership Course. Your student’s course instructor, Dr. Jeff Myers, will attend live, present several lectures, and run a live coaching and mentorship practicum. 

Click here to watch the recap video for Capstone 2022/2023!

STEP 11

Project
Completion

In May your student will complete their Ascend Project with three final steps:

  1. Complete a peer review and make all final edits
  2. Submit their final project report to their ATL
  3. Receive a final review and notes from their ATL

STEP 12

Course & Ascend Certificates Completion

At the beginning of June your student will complete any final assignments for their courses and attend the final Ascend Webinar. For all students who complete each aspect of the program, they will earn two high-level certificates in leadership and professional development. These certificates will set your student apart from their traditionally educated peers and ahead in the job market.

Request More Information About Ascend

Sign up to receive 5 emails in 5 days that explain how Ascend works and how your student can get started.

Request More Information About Ascend

Sign up to receive 5 emails in 5 days that explain how Ascend works and how your student can get started.

Enroll Today

$1,000 deposit required at enrollment. Installment plans paid over 14 months starting the month following your enrollment.

$1,000 deposit required at enrollment.
Paid in full and installment plans (paid over 14 months) available.

Art
Track


0, 9, or 15 college credits
$803+/month
  • Everything included in the Certificate Track
  • Learn to make money through your art medium, whatever that may be
  • Learn how to seek out resources, develop an achievable plan to improve your craft, and consistently level-up your skills
  • Develop a strong theology of art
  • Learn to be a healthy artist: develop emotional resilience, avoid burnout, and create sustainable habits
  • Receive customized coaching and feedback from an art professional
  • Collaborate with like-minded artists
  • Apply what you learn through a hands-on project or internship

Film
Track


0, 9, or 15 college credits
$803+/month
  • Everything included in the Certificate Track
  • Substantially improve your videography skills through practical, hands-on instruction about storytelling, production, and editing
  • Receive customized feedback and instruction from a video professional
  • Collaborate with like-minded videographers
  • Complete a robust set of hands-on projects, including professional videos for YouTube and Social Media, event recap videos, and/or documentaries
  • Develop a portfolio of completed projects
  • Apply what you learn through a hands-on project or internship

Certificate
Path

$616/month
  • Paid over 15 months
  • $1,000 deposit due upon enrollment

    Or $9,235 paid in full

Still Deciding
Path

9 or 15 College Credits
$650 or $720/month
  • Paid over 15 months
  • $1,000 deposit due upon enrollment

    Or $9,755 or $10,785 paid in full

Debt-Free
Degree Path

30 College Credits
$857/month
  • Paid over 15 months
  • $1,000 deposit due upon enrollment

    Or $12,845 paid in full

Optional Specialty Tracks

Give your student the training they need to monetize their creative interests!

Available for students enrolling on the Certificate Path or Still Deciding Path.
Prices listed are the additional fee for adding a track to your student’s enrollment.
Give your student the training they need to monetize their creative interests!

Available for students enrolling on the Certificate Path or Still Deciding Path.
Prices listed are the additional fee for adding a track to your student’s enrollment.

Writing Track

$1,250
  • Learn what it takes to be a part-time or full-time professional writer (regardless of genre!) through instruction and resources
  • Work under, and receive personalized feedback from, a professional writing mentor and publishing coach
  • Learn from real-world writing experts, agents, publishers, and award-winning authors
  • Learn the nuances of how to identify and write for your audience, the financial side of writing and how to make a living, methods of publication and more!
  • Develop skills, tools, and a business plan for your writing career while also polishing aspects of craft
  • Apply what you learn by creating a business plan in the form of a written proposal, which will prepare you for either self or traditional publishing

Art Track

$1,250
  • Learn to make money from your art medium, whatever that may be
  • Learn how to seek out resources, develop an achievable plan to improve your craft, and consistently level-up your skills
  • Develop a strong theology of art
  • Learn how to be a healthy artist: develop emotional resilience, avoid burnout, and create sustainable habits
  • Receive customized coaching and feedback from an art professional
  • Collaborate with like-minded artists
  • Apply what you learn through a hands-on project or internship

Videography Track

$1,250
  • Substantially improve your videography skills through practical, hands-on instruction about storytelling, production, and editing.
  • Receive customized feedback and instruction from a video professional
  • Collaborate with like-minded videographers
  • Apply what you learn through a robust set of hands-on projects, including professional videos for YouTube and Social Media, event recap videos, and/or documentaries
  • Develop a portfolio of completed projects
  • Complete a guaranteed internship with Unbound’s media team or with another organization of your choice

Hear from Parents

Hear from Parents

Hear from Students

Hear from Students

Ready to Get Started?

Schedule a call with admissions to get your questions answered and find out if Ascend is the right fit for your student.

FAQ

FAQ

APEX is held in Brevard, NC, August 11-15.

Basecamp is held in late October/early November with location TBD.

An all-new Ascend event will be held January 20-24 in Florida.

Capstone is held in Estes Park, CO April 20-24.

All dates and locations are subject to slight changes.

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.

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

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 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!

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

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!

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. 

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

Enrollment in Ascend starts at $7,995 during Early Enrollment. Tuition covers your student’s Ascend Team, Ascend Project, monthly coaching and webinars, registration to four 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.

We do offer installment plans that allow you to pay for Ascend in up to 14 installments depending on how early you enroll. 

As Seen or Heard On

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Keep Exploring

The Be Unbound Podcast teaches young adults and their parents how to ask the right questions, take action, and understand key truths that will enable them to live well, by showcasing conversations with guests who display what it looks like to be extraordinary at the ordinary.

Episode Highlights:

  • Steve Demme: Learning to Wait on the Lord – Listen Now
  • Stuart McAllister: Hope & Apologetics in a Post-Truth Culture – Listen Now
  • Sarah Shaw: Illustrating the Invisible – Listen Now

The Be Unbound YouTube channel shares actionable tips for students and chronicles the adventures of Unbound students and alumni.

Video Highlights:

Read what’s happening in higher education and informed commentary on the topics of life preparation, education, and Christian leadership.

Article Highlights:

  • 50% of Parents Aren’t Sending Their Child to College, Here’s Why That’s A Good Thing – Read Now
  • Redefining Adulthood: Challenging the Prolonged Adolescence Narrative – Read Now
  • How to Prepare for Life Without College Debt – Read Now

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Watch an Unbound Event Recap
& Hear from Andrew Pudewa

Get a FREE Guide to Ascend

Read the full, definitive guide to the Ascend program and learn how to get your student’s journey started. This eBook explains what Ascend is, how it works, what academic opportunities are included, and what the community experience is like.

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