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GEAR UP at Marion City Schools

2017 Harding graduate signing success wall

The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) at Marion City Schools program is dedicated to supporting early college preparation and awareness. Its purpose is to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.

The federally funded program is designed to work with Marion City Schools' students in grades 7th through 12th to support early college preparation and awareness. It does so through academic, career and culturally woven events and activities including tutoring, mentoring, academic preparation, financial education, and college scholarships.

GEAR UP's local partners include Marion City Schools, The Ohio State University at Marion, Marion Technical College, Tri-Rivers Career Center, the United Way of Marion County and Marion Area Chamber of Commerce.

GEAR UP at Marion City Schools falls under the umbrella of GEAR UP Ohio.

Four Cornerstone Objectives

Objective 1: Increase the academic performance and preparation for post-secondary education primarily in the areas of math and reading with emphasis on reading across the content areas.

Objective 2: Increase the rate of high school graduation and participation in post-secondary education through a systematic program of student academic and personal development.

Objective 3: Increase GEAR UP students' and their families' knowledge of post-secondary education options, preparation, and financing.

Objective 4: Expand the GEAR UP schools' network of community partners to sustain support services for college and career participation.

GEAR UP Staff

Kelly M. Garrett, Site Director, kgarrett@mcspresidents.org

Corey Chatman, Advisor for students with last names R-Z, cchatman@mcspresidents.org
Jane Arnold, Advisor for students with last names H-Q, jarnold2@mcspresidents.org

Austin King, Advisor for students with last names A-G, aking@mcspresidents.org

GEAR UP checklists

9th Grade

Revisit your student profile at www.ohiomeansjobs.com to update your information and continue planning.

Meet with your guidance counselor and GEAR UP advisor.
  • Your counselor and advisor know how to help you get the most out of your path through high school. Be sure to take some time during the school year to discuss post-high school plans with your counselor and advisor.

Revisit and update your Academic and Career Pathways (forms).

  • Consider how your interests and strengths may influence your long-term goals and how you can begin preparing now for your career goals by completing related education requirements.
  • Of course these will change - often - but it's good to keep thinking about the possibilities.
  • Identify your interests, likes, and dislikes - not just in class but also in every area.
  • Talk to other people, such as your school counselor, teachers, recent college graduates who are working, professionals in the community, etc., about the careers you might find interesting. Your GEAR UP advisor will also help you explore.

Document your Career Exploration Activities (form).

  • This includes field trips, career speakers, job shadowing, internships, community service and service learning.

Create a four-year high school plan.

  • Explore electives available in 10th grade and identify options to explore interests and expand strengths/skills.
  • Make sure you know which high school courses are required by colleges and that you're taking the right classes as early as ninth grade. You can ask your counselor about what these "right" classes are.

Explore programs available at your school where you can earn credentials or certificates during high school.

  • Harding currently offers Early Chlidhood Education, Exercise Science, Global Logistics (Business), and Health Technologies. Tri-Rivers hosts another 16 programs.

10th Grade

Revisit your student account at www.ohiomeansjobs.com to update your information and continue planning.

  • Complete the career profile to explore the relationship between personality and career interests.

Meet with your guidance counselor and GEAR UP advisor - again.

  • Be sure to meet with your school counselor to ensure that your course schedule is challenging enough to prepare you for college, as well as check into any prerequisites for advanced-level junior and senior year courses, and gain an understanding of College Credit Plus.
  • Your GEAR UP advisor will help you design an individualized plan for college or career.
  • Your GEAR UP advisor can also help you with the steps to prepare for College Credit Plus, like signing up for the ACT workshops, ACT test or COMPASS test.

Revisit and update your Academic and Career Pathways (forms).

  • Consider how your interests and strengths may influence your long-term goals and how you can begin preparing now for your career goals by completing related education requirements.
  • Of course these will change - often - but it's good to keep thinking about the possibilities.
  • Identify your interests, likes, and dislikes - not just in class but also in every area.
  • Talk to other people, such as your school counselor, teachers, recent college graduates who are working, professionals in the community, etc., about the careers you may find interesting. Your GEAR UP advisor will also help you explore.

Document your Career Exploration Activities (form).

  • This includes field trips, career speakers, job shadowing, internships, community service and service learning.

Explore programs available at your school where you can earn credentials or certificates during high school.

  • Harding currently offers Early Childhood Education, Exercise Science, Global Logistics (Business), and Health Technologies.

Participate in school activities or volunteer efforts.

  • Extracurricular activities can help you develop time-management skills and enrich your high school experience.

11th Grade Fall

Revisit your www.ohiomeansjobs.com student account to update your information and continue planning.

Create a profile at www.collegeboard.com to create a college plan just for you.

Check your school resources.

  • Visit your guidance counselor.
  • Mark the dates of college nights for students and families as well as when college representatives will visit the school.
  • Examine catalogs and guides.

See your GEAR UP advisor.

  • Your GEAR UP advisor will help you design an individualized plan for college or career.
  • Your advisor is here to help you sign up to take the ACT.
  • Be sure to check on ACT workshops and practice tests that can help you, too.
  • ACT fee waivers are available for students with financial need.
  • You can also take the ACT again in the spring or next fall.

Connect college search and majors to career interests.

  • Look at college websites (www.collegeboard.org has links).
  • Talk to friends, family members, teachers, and recent grads of your school now in college.
  • List the college features that interst you.
  • Schedule college visits to tour campuses, meet with admissions, and talk with financial aid advisors.

Make a file to manage your college and career search.

  • Create a college and career comparison chart to evaluate your options and begin to make choices for your plans after high school.
  • If appropriate, such as if you're interested in drama, music, art, etc., start to gather material for a portfolio.
  • Update the draft of your resume and cover letter with any new experiences or accomplishments.

Along with your family, do some research on how to obtain financial aid.

  • Use the financial aid calculator at www.bigfuture.org to estimate how much aid you might receive.

Save for college.

  • It's not too early or late to put money aside for college. Every little bit helps.

11th Grade Spring

Update your accounts at www.ohiomeansjobs.com and www.collegeboard.org to stay on track.

Meet with your guidance counselor and GEAR UP adivsor - again.

  • Your guidance counselor will help make sure your senior schedule is preparing you for college and career options after high school.
  • Your GEAR UP advisor will help you design an individualized plan for college or careers.

Explore programs available at your school in which you can earn credentials or certificates.

  • Harding currently offers Early Childhood Education, Exercise Science, Global Logistics (Business), and Health Technologies.

Visit some local colleges.

  • Large, small, public and private - get a feel for what works for you.
  • Take campus tours and, at all colleges you're serious about, make appointments to have interviews with admissions counselors.

Update your Career Exploration Activities (form).

  • This includes field trips, career speakers, job shadowing, internships, community service, service learning, college visits, and college and career fairs.

Download applications for colleges.

  • Check application dates. Large universities and select colleges may have early dates or rolling admission.

If you are considering military academies or ROTC scholarships, contact your counselor before leaving school for the summer.

  • If you want a four-year ROTC scholarship, you should begin the application process the summer before your senior year.

If you are planning to continue playing a sport in college, register with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Eligibility Center.

  • See your athletic director and visit www.ncaaclearinghouse.net.

Save for college.

  • It's not too early or too late to put money aside for college. Every little bit helps!

Explore summer opportunities - again.

  • Look for a job, internship, or volunteer position that will help you learn about a field of interest.

12th Grade

Update your accounts at www.ohiomeansjobs.com and www.collegeboard.org to update your information and continue planning.

Meet with your guidance counselor and GEAR UP advisor - again.

  • Your guidance counselor and GEAR UP advisor will help you stay on top of your individualized plan for college or career.

Complete applications and submit essay and career narratives as required for your individualized plan after high school.

  • Remember to request recommendation letters and transcripts. Use the GEAR UP Recommendation Letter checklist to stay organized and prepared.

Explore programs available at your school where you can earn credentials or certificates during high school.

  • Harding currently offers Early Childhood Education, Exercise Science, Global Logistics (Business), and Health Technologies.

Visit some local colleges.

  • Large, small, public and private - get a feel for what works for you.

Update your Career Exploration Activities (form).

  • This includes field trips, career speakers, job shadowing, internships, community service, service learning, college visits, and college and career fairs.

Download college applications.

  • Check application dates. Large universities and select colleges may have early dates or rolling admission.

Update the draft of your resume.

Compile a college and career portfolio.

  • Include documentation collected through high school, like essays, your resume, and other components necessary to support your plans after high school, in your portfolio.


If you are planning to continue playing a sport in college, register with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Eligibility Center.

Save for college.

  • It's never too early or too late to put money aside for college. Every little bit helps!

Explore summer opportunities - again.

  • Look for a job, internship or volunteer position that will help you learn about a field of interest.

Scholarship Checklist

  • Are you a member of any organizations, arts programs, or are you involved in sports? This could be an array of many student-based organizations such as FCCLA, FFA, Show Choir, Marching Band, Football, Track, or a professional organization such as ACEC (American Council of Engineering Companies). Often will you find that organizations/arts programs/or sports like these—and many more—offer scholarships for its members.
  • How is your GPA? Many scholarships give lots of money to students with perfect GPAs but you may be surprised to find that you may qualify for certain ones even if you have a 3.0 GPA.
  • Are you a minority student, ethnically or racially? Minority scholarships are out there and they are everywhere specifically on scholarship websites.
  • Are you REALLY tall or REALLY short? Believe it or not, there are scholarships for you if you’re over 6’2” or below 5’0”! Search “scholarships for tall/short students” on Google.
  • Do you have a physical illness, physical disability, or any sort of mental illness? If you meet any of these criteria, there are scholarships out there just for you. CollegeScholarships.org has an excellent list on its website of scholarships that are available!
  • Have you visited your college’s financial aid page? This one is probably the most overlooked out of all. Some scholarships are school specific which means that just by being an accepted student, you may qualify for the list of scholarships available! Be sure to check your departments webpage (i.e. your major of choice) to see if there are specific scholarships available for your field.
  • Are you religious? Oftentimes, local churches or religious denominations give out scholarships to those students who choose to go to religious affiliated universities, those who choose to major in religious studies, and to those who can demonstrate involvement in their church. Search or ask around!
  • Are you a female? That’s right, there are scholarships specifically out there for female students.
  • Do you have a drive and the ability to type? Writers unite! There are a substantial amount of scholarships anyone can win. Go to the great power of Google.com and search “easy scholarships.”
  • Last but not least…do you have a weird last name or are you creative with duct tape, good at duck calling, or something bizarre and out if the ordinary? There are a TON of unique scholarships out there that you may qualify for. Don’t forget to search your name on Google.com; all you have to do is type in your last name followed by the word “scholarship” and see what POPS up…you may be surprised. Be sure to visit fastweb.com as another helpful resource.

Recommendation Letter

Request letter of recommendation (two weeks before deadline).

  • Check the application to see if the person you request a letter from needs to play a particular role in your life (i.e. teacher, guidance counselor, or non-family member).

Give writer a fact sheet about YOU (two weeks before deadline).

  • Fill out a fact sheet for each letter you request. The best thing to do would be to fill one out completely, except for the name of the scholarship or college/deadline, address, etc.
  • Photocopy the original as many times as you need to, then all you have to do is fill out the top part for each letter.

Give letter writer a friendly reminder of the due date (one week before deadline).

Follow up with letter writer to make sure there are no problems or questions (3 days before deadline).

Send writer a thank you note. (1-2 weeks after deadline).

  • This is very important! This person just did a huge favor for you. Please take the time to acknowledge that.

News and Announcements

GEAR UP office open in summer
kmoore

Did you know that your friendly neighborhood GEAR UP staff is in all summer? Whether you are a recent grad with questions about your GEAR UP or other scholarships or are going to be taking the ACT in the fall and want help registering and preparing for it, you can find your GEAR UP advisor at Harding High School Monday-Thursday, 8am-3pm. We are also available by phone at 740-223-4729.

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