The University of Washington State GEAR UP Project (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) celebrated another milestone this week, as 39 students who participated in its Scholars Project joined the UW freshman class when fall quarter began, Sept. 28.
Housed within the UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D), UW State GEAR UP fosters college awareness and readiness for low-income middle and high school students by providing a variety of programs targeted to students and educators. The UW State GEAR UP Project is a partner of Washington State GEAR UP.
In 2005, Washington GEAR UP awarded 12 school districts throughout the state funding for a Scholars Project program to provide service to participating students. This cohort program followed the students’ progress from middle school through their high school careers. Of the 503 GEAR UP scholars, 88.5% have continued on to postsecondary education this fall.
This week will not mark the first time GEAR UP students have been to the UW. They have participated in the GEAR UP Summer Institutes, a series of week-long “college immersion” experiences held on the UW campus each summer.
When asked about her favorite GEAR UP memory, a student from Fort Vancouver High School recalled her initial visit to UW. “My favorite memory would have to be the first UW trip back in 2008. It was my very first time on any four-year university campus and I had so much fun. It was also my first time being away from my family for four days…I got to experience a little bit of college life, and I have been excited to go ever since. That was the biggest ‘this is real’ eye opener that made me say ‘college is for me.’”
GEAR UP is one of many programs operated by OMA&D that advances the UW’s mission of increasing access for diverse students seeking postsecondary education.
“We are looking forward to continuing our work with Washington State GEAR UP on developing creative and responsible programming to increase the college access of our state’s low-income students,” said OMA&D Associate Vice President, Enrique Morales, the project’s principal investigator.