Gear-Up program ends with senior exit


Diana Apodaca


The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness to Undergraduate Program (GEAR-UP) originally started following the Class of 2014 when they were in the 7th grade in 2008-2009.

The executive director of the Student Affairs department at UTEP, Juliet Caire, writes the grants and oversees coordinators involved with the program.

“The program supports any of the initiatives the school or district has to offer,” campus GEAR-UP Coordinator Marisela Esquinca said.

GEAR-UP was started because UTEP was interested in assisting the district with college readiness because they knew the district was interested in its’ students being prepared for college.

“One of the guidelines is for the program to follow the students beginning in the 7th grade because the government and the district believe the earlier students get help with college awareness, the more seniors will want to pursue college degrees,” Esquinca said.

The federal government is funding the program through grants.

“It wanted more out-reach on college information because there is a high percentile of students dropping out of school,” Esquinca said.

In creating funds for GEAR-UP, a program that works with high school students, the aim is to decrease drop-out rates.

“It is good to have someone in college helping you get through senior year,” tutor Alyssa Morales said. “Two students who I see regularly taking advantage of this program are Robert E. Reyes and Samantha Esquivel.”

The program provides students with handbooks detailing college applications and scholarship deadlines, as well as tutors in the classroom, college trips, computer labs and informative presentations from the Princeton Review.

“Tutors in the classroom has helped me personally very much,” senior Robert Reyes said. “I normally visit only the computer labs around two times per week for help or support.”

All things provided are aimed at encouraging college enrollment.

“GEAR-UP has helped me fill out college applications,” Reyes said. “I use the GEAR-UP computer lab from time to time for research about colleges.”

The federal government began funding the program six years ago. Faculty involved in the GEAR-UP program include the teachers students have for classes from their freshmen year on.

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