An Intense Leadership & Professional
Development Program that

Equips Young Adults
for the Real World

Special offer for NCHE families below!

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I am (or my student is) going into. . .

Prepare For Life, Not Just the Classroom

The real-world requires more than just a degree. And the ability to engage with an ever-changing culture as a young Christian requires more than head knowledge. Young adults need an environment that supports their faith, challenges them to wrestle with hard questions, and requires them to step up to challenges and face failure. They need hands-on experience, practical skill, and the ability to quickly and effectively master complicated information.

Welcome to Ascend.
An intense leadership & professional development program for young adults.

How Does Ascend Work?


Ascend is a project-based leadership and professional development program designed to prepare young adults to have an impact for Christ. Ascend trains students in core life skills, provides opportunities for hands-on experience, and plugs them into a powerful community and professional network, all while they pursue a bachelor's degree through one of Unbound's six partner schools.


When your student enrolls in Ascend, they will be placed on a team of 7-10 other students led by a highly trained team leader. They will attend monthly expert-led webinars and Q&As, complete an intense individual or team project in a field of their choosing, work through a challenging 3-course Christian leadership elective series in addition to their general education classes, and attend 3 live, in-person events.


Upon graduation, Ascend students will have:

  • 1-3 years of resume-worthy experience
  • A foundation in Biblical leadership
  • 1-3 completed projects to prove their skills and abilities
  • A professional network of entrepreneurs, missionaries, artists, and more
  • Multiple high level certifications that will set them apart from their peers

Take a Look Inside

Click on each section below to dive deeper into Ascend.

Take a Look Inside

Click on each section below to dive deeper into Ascend.


Ascend students join a team of 7-10 other students to encourage each other, collaborate on projects, and build a network that lasts for life.


A collection of events bring the Ascend program to life by providing a platform for students to forge relationships in person and learn in an even more intense environment.

Ryan Bomberger at APEX

Expert Workshops

Ascend students attend monthly webinars that expose them to a wide variety of fields, ideas, and principles. These are often rated among the students' favorite parts of the program.

Student Leadership

Student leaders play a critical role in planning events, onboarding new students, and facilitating online and in-person environments for the community. These leaders are constantly learning life-lessons with hands-on experience.


Ascend students can earn up to 30 transferable college credits each year they are in the program. The flexible academic classes support the function of the program: preparing students for impact in the real world.


Ascend students conceive, plan, and execute a project as a part of the program. An opportunity for students to apply what they are learning, these projects have ranged from starting a nonprofit to building a canoe for a multi-day trip.


Ascend students get full access to our vibrant community. Complete with online forums, video hangouts, live events, and opportunities for international missions, this community connects over a thousand friends around the world.

Degrees & Certifications

In addition to the skills, experiences, and community that will set your student up to lead
an impactful life wherever God has called them, Ascend students will also earn college credit
towards an accredited bachelor’s degree and two elite certifications.


When your student enrolls in Ascend, they will have a one-on-one consultation with an academic advisor, who will help them set up their academic plan to pursue a bachelor's degree during their time in the program. Students in Ascend can earn up to 30 credits per year.

See a list of available majors.


Students who complete the Signature Leadership Series and attend the Capstone event will receive a certification in leadership from Dr. Jeff Myers, President of Summit Ministries. This certification can be included on a student's resume and LinkedIn profile, linking to a page that explains what they did to receive this certification.


Ascend students also receive a unique certification from Unbound. This certification is linkable, just like the Leadership Certification, and will outline the professional experience and expert training the student received as an Ascend student.

Keep Exploring

Listen to commentary on higher education today, Unbound student stories, and engaging interviews with leaders in Christian education.

Episode Highlights:

  • The Vision For a Different Education (feat. Rush and Cindy Cone) – Listen Now
  • How to Prepare for a Resilient Life (feat. Mrs. Elaine Bell) – Listen Now
  • How the State of Education Has Changed Over Time – 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:

  • How Community Enhances Project-Based Education – Read Now
  • Writing Our Own Case Studies: How Unbound Students Learn Differently – Read Now
  • Students Are Walking Into Life Unprepared. Project-Based Education is Here to Change That. – Read Now
  • A Call for Christian Students to Embrace Counterculturalism – Read Now


If you’re ready to be challenged, work hard, participate in Christian community, and apply what you learn in the real world, you’re the student we want.

Starting at:


NCHE families receive $150 off enrollment!


Ascend is Unbound’s project-based college program, designed as a 1-3 year intensive that combines the best of flexible academics, practical life skills, robust community, and leadership expertise. Students graduate Ascend with more than college credit — they’ve also studied under field experts, earned a life-changing leadership credential, completed a challenging project, worked through our practical life courses, formed a remarkable professional and personal network, and attended three powerful live events.

Ascend students want something more. They recognize that they are called to a life of meaning, service, and leadership—and are willing to pursue that vision. They’re willing to commit time, effort, and energy to the process of growth, and they see the value of skills and principles that will equip them for a life of impact. They’re willing to be part of a team, knowing that they and their fellow students can help each other go further and do more than they could on their own.

They know that an extraordinary life lies beyond the edge of their comfort zone, and even if it takes time, they’re willing to set sail for that horizon.

If this sounds like you, Ascend was designed for you. (And you should go apply.)

Yes! High school students can enroll in Ascend for dual credit. We recommend our 9 or 15 credit option for high school students who are just entering the college world.

Of course! While Ascend is not first and foremost a gap year program, it delivers many of the same benefits as a gap year would. Some level of academic participation is currently required to enroll in Ascend, but you can select our 9 or 15 credit option if you would prefer to take fewer classes.

Yes! You can take one to three years of Ascend before you move on to your target school or pursue your unique path. Each year is designed to be a full experience in itself, but subsequent years build on each other and provide students with deeper and more significant opportunities as they progress.

Because we are affiliated with schools but are not a college ourselves, we cannot take financial aid, scholarships, or tuition assistance directly. However, you are welcome to utilize available options at your discretion and use those funds to enroll in Ascend. Because we’ve all been college students too, we’re excited that our pricing structure is set lower than the average state school with tuition assistance!

Learn more today!

Schedule an appointment below to connect with an
admissions counselor and learn more about Ascend.