For five weeks this summer, the University will be home to about 1,000 middle school and high school students from throughout Washington State, here to soak up atmosphere, see the sights and begin considering their college options.
It’s all part of the GEAR-UP project, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. Fueled by a $5 million, five-year federal grant, the GEAR-UP project’s annual Summer Institutes bring students from disadvantaged backgrounds to the campus for classes, culture and more. It’s designed to help more students, regardless of background, enroll and succeed in higher education by getting them and their families thinking about it a bit earlier.
Bruce Wynn, event manager for GEAR-UP, said about 1,000 students come each summer, and about 200 attend each weeklong residential session. This year, Wynn said, about 40 percent of the visiting students are from Eastern Washington, about 30 percent from the inner city and 20 to 30 percent from areas that are a mix of urban and rural. Three of the weeklong institutes will be for high school students and two for high school students.
In addition to the summer programs, GEAR-UP — which operates in partnership with the Gov. Gary Locke’s office and the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Council — also offers training for teachers in its Collaborative for Instructional Development and an mentor outreach program where UW undergraduate and graduate students provide year-round support to students in GEAR-UP programs, helping demystify college for them.
For more information about the GEAR-UP program, visit online at http://gearup.washington.edu/.