We're a federally-funded grant program placing full-time advisors in more than two dozen schools across the state. We start with middle-school students, teaching them college basics and taking them for campus visits. By high school, our students are taking college courses and building confidence in the future.
Most of our students are the first in their families to go to college - we strive to ensure they're prepared to turn their dreams into reality.
Learn more about our innovative approach to college preparation:
We assign two dozen advisors to work full-time in middle and high schools across the state, from Alamosa to Greeley. Advisors recruit roughly 100 students per grade level, starting with eighth-graders. They serve as mentors and provide students with one-on-one academic advising.
Middle school students begin participating in what's known as "early remediation" - those classes that colleges want students to complete before they begin 100-level college courses. Typically, by their sophomore year of high school, our students are enrolling in college classes.
Roughly 40 percent of Colorado students entering college will be required to take remedial classes in math, reading or writing - and sometimes all three. Remedial classes don't carry college credit and financial aid won't cover them. That means students must spend time and money before they can accumulate college credit.
Colorado GEAR UP and Adams State University created a solution. In fall 2011, two middle schools near Denver began offering those remedial courses online and it's expanded to other schools. GEAR UP pays for the computers, schools provide certified teachers and Adams State records a transcript of classes successfully completed. So our students have proof they're college-ready. Learn more.
Students who are the first in their families to go to college, which describes most GEAR UP students, often have concerns about their ability to be successful. This is one of many reasons Colorado GEAR UP pays for our students to begin college courses in high school. They typically do well and this builds confidence - as well as saving them money and time in college.
Colorado GEAR UP students graduate high school and enter college having earned an average of 17 college credits. Some students accumulate far more. Wesley Gallegos earned more than 50 college credits in high school and is scheduled to graduate college more than a year early. Read Wesley's story.
The College Level Examination Program or CLEP is a College Board test designed to give college students credit for skills acquired outside a traditional classroom. It's often used for military service members. In 2009-10, Colorado GEAR UP began paying for CLEP exams for our students, many of whom are native Spanish speakers.
Nearly 600 Colorado GEAR UP students have taken the CLEP, earning an average of four college credits each. Combined with our other strategies, outlined above, our students are graduating high school, entering college and persisting through the first year of college at higher rates than statewide averages.