The Student’s Road Map to Success

GEAR UP staff member working closely with high school student.

The journey to college is filled with new experiences, challenges and opportunities. While the thrill of independence and academic pursuits takes center stage, GEAR UP offers guidance for wherever you are on the journey to higher education.  

Laying the Foundation — 7th and 8th Grade 

The first milestone in the roadmap to higher education begins in middle school. In this stage, GEAR UP offers academic support, mentoring, exposure to various career paths and programs to help you get excited about college.  

As early as 8th grade, you can apply for Oklahoma’s Promise — a scholarship program designed to pave the way for those who want to pursue higher education without worrying about the cost. To learn more about Oklahoma’s Promise, listen to Episode 2 of GEAR UP’s Higher Ed Hacks podcast.  

You can partner with GEAR UP to explore your interests, set academic goals and build essential study skills, creating a solid foundation for your educational journey. Contact a school specialist today to find out what programs are available to you.  

Charting the Course — 9th & 10th Grade 

As you transition to high school, GEAR UP provides resources to help you select appropriate coursework, understand graduation requirements and explore potential career paths. GEAR UP’s support during this phase can help you make informed decisions about your academic future. 

Connecting with GEAR UP is the first step in charting the course. Your school specialist can help you set up your college visits, something you’ll want to start doing in ninth grade. They can also set you up to take the Pre-ACT and connect you to a GEAR UP College Coach to talk about admissions and career options

Tenth grade is a time to start thinking about concurrent enrollment! Concurrent enrollment are college classes you can take in high school starting in 11th grade. Your GEAR UP specialist can help you determine any concurrent enrollment options you have and prep you to enroll next year. To learn more about concurrent enrollment, listen to Episode 1 of GEAR UP’s Higher Ed Hacks podcast.  

As a high school student, you can collaborate with GEAR UP to create a personalized academic plan, explore extracurricular activities and gain exposure to college and career options, setting the stage for success beyond graduation. Connect with your GEAR UP school specialist for help with any of these important steps.  

Clearing the Path — 11th & 12th Grade 

As students enter eleventh grade, preparing for and understanding the roadmap to college becomes more important than ever. GEAR UP engages students through mentoring, connection to workshops, initiating campus visits and organizing career fairs. These opportunities expose you to the opportunities available, helping you make informed decisions about your future. 

One of the steps to take in 11th and 12th grade is taking the ACT and SAT. These are college entrance exams which most colleges require for entrance. If you score well enough, you may even qualify for additional scholarships to help you pay for college. Check out this GEAR UP article for tips and tricks on how to study for these tests.  

Understanding the financial aspect of higher education is crucial. GEAR UP helps with financial aid applications, simplifying the process and ensuring that students have access to the resources they need. From scholarship opportunities to completing college applications, GEAR UP can help you navigate college admissions. 

As graduation gets closer, you should work closely with GEAR UP to confirm your Oklahoma’s Promise application, complete college applications, explore financial aid options and secure scholarships particularly through the FAFSA. GEAR UP is here to help you transition from high school to college as smoothly as possible.  

Turning Dreams into Reality—The College Transition 

GEAR UP’s roadmap to higher education is a guided path with each milestone representing a significant step towards achieving academic success. Middle school to high school is the perfect time to work on developing good habits for college. No matter where you are in the process, it is never too late to start. By partnering with GEAR UP at each stage of the process, you can turn your dreams of higher education into reality.  

Check out GEAR UP’s recommended checklist here.  
Contact your GEAR Up school specialist.  
Apply for Oklahoma’s Promise. 
Listen to GEAR UP’s Higher Ed Hacks podcast.