Sun. Oct 13th, 2019

Jr. high/high school students prepare for college

Huh? What in the world is GEAR UP? Never heard of it before. What does it do?
Well, since you asked, let me tell you what GEAR UP is and what it does. In a nutshell, GEAR UP is a wonderful opportunity for junior high and high school students to take advantage. It’s a college-readiness program, helping kids to become better students in school, to stay in high school until graduation and to head to college and be successful in their college experience.

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Huh? What in the world is GEAR UP? Never heard of it before. What does it do?
Well, since you asked, let me tell you what GEAR UP is and what it does. In a nutshell, GEAR UP is a wonderful opportunity for junior high and high school students to take advantage. It’s a college-readiness program, helping kids to become better students in school, to stay in high school until graduation and to head to college and be successful in their college experience.
Now this might sound boring, but in reality, lots of fun takes place along the way to college success. For one thing, students have the opportunity to tour the campus of every public college/university in Utah. Over the last five years, our students toured the U of U, USU, WSU, SUU, Snow College, Dixie State College, USU/Eastern, and UVU. Can you identify each of these as well as their location?
Summer camp is another activity where fun flows each day. It is hosted by our program on Eastern’s campus every summer for three days and two nights where students get the feel of what it’s like to be a college student. They stay in the dorms, eat in the cafeteria, attend workshops, meet school personnel and college students. By attending summer camp, they begin to see themselves as authentic college students, giving them confidence and empowerment.
And who doesn’t desire more confidence and empowerment? This year’s summer camp is COLLEGE BOOT CAMP where every workshop will deal with some topic related to college life. How to get along with crummy roommates, how to save money on textbooks, what to expect the first day of class, and tips for choosing the perfect schedule are just a few examples of the workshops this time around.
After-school tutoring and student workshops give students the chance to explore and discuss many different topics pertaining to their school lives: effective study habits, note-taking, time management, setting and achieving goals, developing self-discipline, stress relief, test-taking tips, memorizing tips, resume writing, and job interviewing to name a few. Not only do these topics help you in school, these skills will polish you for your real life experience. Strong life foundations are set and molded.
Career exploration is one more step in the GU program. UtahFutures, the best online tool around for high school kids, helps students discover the ins and outs of all sorts of careers from abuse counselors to zoologists with everything in between. Hundreds of career options unfold for the curious student, young and old.
Financial smarts is a great tool to have when it comes to discovering how you’re going to pay for all this learning! Parent and student workshops share the tips and smarts to finding out how to pay for college. And money management or ‘How to Make Your Money Behave!” workshops teach the secrets of good money discipline. You know, it’s not how much money you make that really counts, but how well you manage what you make.
Every last Wednesday evening of each month, we meet to enjoy a complimentary dinner in Eastern’s cafeteria, then enjoy a parent/student workshop, discussing and learning about pertinent topics for college-going students and college-minded parents: financial aid, the college application process, how to use a college catalogue. We also touch on topics of a more serious nature like cyber bullying and Internet safety. Parents love to enjoy a good meal they didn’t have to fix or clean up, then learn some things that will help their child throughout life. Now that’s a win-win opportunity.
Did I mention that also along the way free prizes and gifts are awarded and T-shirts have been given out, too, thanks to the generous folks in the bookstore? Everyone LOVES t-shirts.
And did I mention, too, that GEAR UP is absolutely free? Enrolled students and their parents/guardians never lay one penny on the table for any of our services. And that goes for the GEAR UP scholarship as well. Free money for college that you do not have to pay back. Let me repeat that last thought. You DO NOT have to pay back a GEAR UP scholarship. Free money all over the place!
The GEAR UP scholarship follows you all four years of your college experience. If you graduate from college, you will most likely earn close to a million dollars more over your working lifetime than if you have only a high school degree. A professional degree doubles that figure! But if money isn’t your goal, a college education works outside the green box, too. A college education makes you a more rounded person, and I’m not referring to your girth, either.
I didn’t mention it would be easy. Succeeding in college isn’t easy, but it is very doable. You CAN do it. Set your sights on your goal and stay focused. It CAN happen. Just ask the 14 GEAR UP students who have been awarded a GEAR UP scholarship over the last five years. They are living proof that getting a college education is attainable with a little hard work, some self-discipline and a goal to guide you. A college education? Priceless!!
Our GEAR UP grant ends Aug. 31, 2011, unfortunately. We’ve been in existence here at Eastern for the last five years, achieving lots of success, but that’s all about to come to an end. BUMMER! The ride was terrific while it lasted, though. But . . .
Did I tell you that we’re applying for a new grant to begin Sept. 1, 2011, and that this new grant will last seven years rather than our current six? Yes, our chances for being funded look very, very good, and we in the GEAR UP office (JL#223) are headed forward with experience under our belts and excitement in our eyes.

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