First things First!

Click on your school to see how you can connect. Talk to your GEAR UP liaison and school counselor about GEAR UP services at your school! 

Deanne Smith e: | p: 726-3216 ext: 2305
Shari Ruff e: | p: 352-4195 ext: 5132
Nathan Stone e: | p: 338-2725 ext: 4921

Melanie Magee

Marissa Krupa


p: 338-2745 ext: 4355

Tim Hardy   e: | p: 665-6343
Lance Olson e: | p: 665-6406
Bonnie Nesslar e: | p: 353-2289
Christy Day Chief e: | p: 338-2211 ext: 223
Adriann Killsnight e: | p: 477-8901 ext: 1217
Deanna Malyevac e: | p: 293-8802 ext: 1951
Talitha Goes Ahead e: | p: 259-7329
Gilberta Belgarde e: | p: 395-4474 ext: 223
Alan Pule e: | p: 745-3811ext: 265
Toni Labbe  e: | p: 822-3600 ext: 114
Penny Beckman e: | p: 827-3593 ext: 7069
 Jessica Knapp e: | p: 295-4520 ext: 2126

You can go to College!

GEAR UP activities around the state may vary, but all services are designed to do two things: help you graduate and go on to some form of education after high school. People with degrees frequently have higher job satisfaction and can earn 40% more than adults without one. Click on the links question below to learn about opportunities that may be available at your school!

  • Tutoring
    • Tutoring helps students of all grades to catch up on key concepts, make up lost assignments, and stay current with one’s classmates.
  • Online classes for Credit Recovery
    • Many GEAR UP liaisons can get you set up to use online resources to recover credits (through programs like the Montana Digital Academy, or Edgenuity). The courses are self-paced, allowing you to recover credits quickly even when school is on a break.
  • Academic Advising
    • Academic Advising during conferences will help you and your parent or caregiver understand which classes to take to be ready for entering the Montana University System. Taking the right classes now means you’ll be ready for college and you may be eligible for scholarships.
    • Academic Advising during parent teacher conferences will help you and your parent or caregiver understand what supports are available to help you succeed academically. Getting support in 7th, 8th, 9th grade helps prevent falling behind and dropping out of school. 
  • Take college classes while in HS
    • Starting in 9th grade you may be able to take dual enrollment classes (you to earn high school credits and college credits at the same time, allowing you to graduate with several college credits).
  • Clubs
    • Academic clubs like robotics, science, drones, can help you discover your passion. Based on your interests you can take high school classes that build on what you learned in the club.
    • Mentoring clubs are a great way to learn leadership skills and help younger students succeed in school. Participation in them looks great on a college application.
  • Academic competitions
    • Academic competitions are a create way to have fun while building skills. Participation in them looks great on a college application.
  • Educational field
    • Trips like Science Technology Engineering Math trips are a great way to explore future careers. STEM jobs are in demand and frequently pay well. Discover your STEM passion and take classes in high school that prepare you for college and career.
  • Career Fairs
    • Career fairs are a great way to talk to professionals whose career you may be interested in exploring. It’s your opportunity to ask questions about the good and not so good aspects of the career you are considering. Professionals can also advise you on the kind of education you need.
  • MCIS
    • The Montana Career Information System is an online portal where you can take an assessment of your strengths to find out what careers might suit you well. After the assessment you can explore career pathways and learn how much education you need to make the desired amount of money. Some programs may take a year or two but result in better income than a four-year program.
  • Job Shadowing
    • Some GEAR UP schools coordinate job learning opportunities where you can work with a local business for a day or a semester. Ask you liaison what is available for you.
  • STEM activities
    • Science Technology Engineering or Math activities may provide hands on experience. These may be at the school or at a university. Expanding Your Horizons is a STEM conference for middle school girls. 
  • College Application Week
    • College Application Week is sponsored in every GEAR UP high school to help Seniors apply to college. During the week, which is around the first week of October, liaisons will provide aid in applying for the college of your choosing. Universities will either accept the application for free or will defer payment until you enroll.
  • ACT Preparations Workshops
    • Many GEAR UP schools will offer ACT prep classes for their juniors. The ACT scores are frequently necessary for enrollment in college. Earning a high score can influence the decision to accept a person into University.
  • Paying College Application Fees
    • Many GEAR UP high schools set aside funds to pay for 2 college application fees per student. This could save you $50 or more.
    • Headed to a college orientation this summer? Your school's GEAR UP program may have a stipend for you to pay for gas, lodging and registration
  • Senior Portfolios
    • A senior portfolio is a showcase that students prepare to highlight their achievements and hold the documents they need when applying for college.
  • Guest Speakers
    • Your school may host a panel with college students or invite them to eat with you on a college visit. The students are from your community and can help you understand what it takes to succeed. They may also become someone you already know on campus when you start college. 
  • Campus Visits
    • GEAR UP schools take students to community colleges, tribal colleges, and 4-year universities. These trips allow you to visualize what setting would be best for you. You can ask questions about what you want to study, what kind of financial help they offer, and find out about how and when to apply.
  • College Access Assignments
    • Some GEAR UP schools assign Jr. High students to research a college and write a letter to them to request college gear. Universities have sent back some amazing bling
  • State-Sponsored Summer Camps
    • The state office of GEAR UP offers summer camps for students who are entering 7th grade through 12th grade. The camps are often on a campus giving you a week to explore campus living. Your liaisons should begin announcing camps around March.
  • FAFSA workshops
    • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid opens on October 1st annually. Seniors and their guardians or parents can receive help through a local workshop.
  • Scholarship Workshops
    • Your GEAR UP liaison may offer scholarship workshops. Your school counselor may be able to provide a list of scholarships.
  • Workshops to teach traditions
    • Schools may provide workshops to explore your heritage and traditions.Celebrations
    • Schools may take students to campus during pow wows or to tour American Indian programs.

Opportunities to get Involved!


Student Success Agency - Get a Mentor

Student Leadership Academy

Virtual Campus Tours | Virtual College Fairs

Summer Programs

Take Your Surveys 

Did you go on a college visit? Tell us about your experience with the College Visit Survey!


Outline of Montana

Financial Help

FAFSA Resources

A Student's Guide to Your First Year of College - ICYMI Video series

UM Financial Aid Videos


Local Montana Scholarships

Youth Serve Scholarship

TRIO Scholarship

MUS Scholarships and Tuition Waivers

Spirit of Community Scholarship

GEAR UP Seniors

  1. College Application Week
  2. FAFSA Completion Campaign
  3. Decision Day
  4. GEAR UP can pay for college orientation travel and fees. Ask your liaison!
  5. Congratulations please take the Graduate Survey to tell us where you're at!

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