“College Basics” are Your Step-by-Step Guide to Higher Ed Success

High school students sitting at desks in a classroom.

If college is on your horizon, GEAR UP is here to help. College basics are your personal roadmap for college preparations and making the transition to university life. Our college coaches are here to guide you every step of the way and help you stay on track as you tackle this new phase of your life. 

But what are the stops on your roadmap? Let’s walk through them step-by-step!


College Visits 

Visiting colleges before making your final list of where to apply can help you narrow down your options. College visits are an opportunity to get a real feel for different atmospheres, cities and school sizes. Whether you visit virtually or in-person, it’s always a good idea to take a campus tour to learn about a college and its programs. When selecting colleges to visit, look for programs that match both your skills and career interests. Need some tips or info about potential colleges or wondering what kinds of colleges to apply for? Check out GEAR UP’s college visits page or listen to Episode 3 of our podcast, Higher Ed Hacks, about how to choose the right college!  


College Applications 

GEAR UP is here to provide you with all the support and resources you need to tackle those applications like a pro. From resource materials like a College Application Checklist, to training opportunities and on-site assistance, our team can set you up for success. Learn more about what to expect on college applications, and check out colleges to apply for on our college application support page 

(About to start writing your college essay? Check out Episode 4 of Higher Ed Hacks to learn how to write an impactful essay!) 


Financial Aid Planning 

Let’s make sense of financial aid together. We’ll help you navigate through grants, scholarships, loans, concurrent enrollment and more. (Dive deep into concurrent enrollment in Episode 1 of Higher Ed Hacks!) With a bit of guidance and dedication, college can be affordable! Check out our tips for reducing college costs and listen to Episode 5 of Higher Ed Hacks to get the full overview of financial planning in under ten minutes.
(Parents can also get involved by reaching out to their Education Coordinator!) 


College Orientation Reimbursement 

College orientation programs are designed to help students ease into college life and prepare for the semester ahead. Not only is college orientation a great way to get more information for the upcoming semester, but attendees also can meet other students, get familiar with the campus, join clubs and register for their first semester of classes. We believe it’s important for students to have this experience as they enter college, so GEAR UP will reimburse orientation costs for students who graduate from a designated GEAR UP school district. Learn more about reimbursement eligibility and our tips for preparing for college orientation! 



CONNECT U is a program designed specifically to help high school seniors with the college enrollment process. On your CONNECT U day, you will enroll for the fall semester with priority as a GEAR UP student, get your college ID, finalize housing and more. CONNECT U is designed to ensure you’re not just enrolled but are fully prepared to excel from your very first day. 


Reach out to your college coach today!  

Ready to start this exciting journey? Reach out to a college coach or school specialist today to get started with college basics. If you’re still trying to figure out this whole college thing out, give a listen to Episode 2 of Higher Ed Hacks to learn about getting a college degree and how GEAR UP can help. For all your questions and concerns about college, we are here to support you. Together we can turn your college aspirations into a reality!