High school students register for Gear Up U

More than 100 high school seniors on campus this week for eighth annual GEAR UP U

More than 100 high school seniors on campus this week for eighth annual GEAR UP U
INSTITUTE, W.Va. – Nearly 180 soon-to-be high school seniors from 10 West Virginia counties are about to get their first taste of college life at the GEAR UP U summer academy.

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) organizes the annual academy which this year takes place on the West Virginia State University campus June 25 to June 29. 

GEAR UP U, offered through the West Virginia Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) program, helps students prepare for postsecondary education by providing them with an on-campus experience to help them understand what it is like to go to college.

“So many of West Virginia’s young people today will be first-generation college students,” said Sarah Tucker, interim chancellor of the Commission. “GEAR UP U is a fun and meaningful way for them to learn what to expect after high school, and it helps them prepare for college as they begin their senior year.”

High school students tour the WVSU campusWhile participating in the five-day free academy, students will stay in West Virginia State University’s residence halls, attend academic classes, build leadership skills, meet GEAR UP students from around the state and take part in a host of activities, all with the hope that attendees will gain a mindset for preparing for and attending college following high school.  Academic courses span subjects from business to the fine arts, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to music.

Elizabeth Manuel, Interim Director of Student Services for the Commission expressed her excitement for this year’s GEAR UP U academy.

“GEAR UP U allows students to learn a lot about themselves and one another while building independence and responsibility,” said Manuel.  “The academy is something we do every summer for our GEAR UP students to ensure they have all the skills and tools necessary to smoothly move on to postsecondary education.”

“This year’s summer academy will be emotional because this is our students’ last year of high school and, as a result, their last year in the GEAR UP program,” said Manuel.  “At the end of the day, our priority is to make sure these students are fully prepared for the college careers ahead of them, and GEAR UP U is invaluable in helping us reach that goal.”
Students apply annually to attend GEAR UP U and from the pool of applications, site coordinators select 10 students and five alternates based on a scoring process.  Over the course of the GEAR UP U academy, more than 1,000 students have attended.

Previous sites for the academy, which is in its eighth year, have included Marshall University, Glenville State College, Concord University and Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.
West Virginia GEAR UP is a federally funded program managed by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, in collaboration with the West Virginia Community and Technical College System, the West Virginia Department of Education and many other community partners.  Its goal is to help students prepare to succeed in education and training beyond high school. 

The GEAR UP program operates on seven-year cycles, serving students in Boone, Fayette, Mason, Mercer, Mingo, Nicholas, Summers, Webster, Wirt and Wyoming counties.  The Commission is administering its second consecutive GEAR UP grant, which began in 2014 and will conclude in 2021.  For more information, visit www.wvgearup.org.

For more information on GEAR UP U, including a camp schedule, visit www.wvgearup.org/u.

GEAR UP is a partner in West Virginia’s Climb, a statewide attainment goal of equipping 60 percent of all West Virginians with a certificate or degree by 2030.  For more information about The Climb, visit www.wvclimb.com.
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