You can go to college!

GEAR UP still has your back. Montana GEAR UP has partnered with five colleges and universities to continue offering services to GEAR UP students during their first year in college. Check out the GEAR UP Practitioners page for First Year Service Coordinator contact information.

College Visit Survey


Student Opportunities


How can GEAR UP help me graduate and further my education?

  • 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. The courses are self-paced, allowing you to recover credits quickly even when school is on a break.
  • Academic advising: these services 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 family understand what supports are available to help you succeed academically. Getting support helps prevent falling behind and dropping out of school. 
  • Take college classes while in high school: starting in 9th grade, you may be able to take dual enrollment classes. Dual enrollment allows you to earn high school credits and college credits at the same time. You could have college credits on your transcript even before the first day of your freshman year!
  • Clubs: academic clubs like robotics, science, and drones can help you discover your passion. Based on your interests, you can take high school classes that build on what you learned. Mentoring clubs are a great way to learn leadership skills and help younger students succeed in school. Participation in extracurriculars look great on a college application.
  • Academic competitions: academic competitions are a great way to have fun while building skills. Participation looks great on a college application.
  • Educational fields: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) opportunities 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 your 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 your liaison what is available for you.
  • STEM activities: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math activities may provide hands on experience. These may be at the school or at a university.
  • College Application Week (CAW): College Application Week is sponsored in every GEAR UP high school to help seniors apply to college. During the week, usually taking place 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 offer ACT prep classes to juniors. Your ACT  score can have a big impact on your acceptance into a college or university.
  • Paying college application fees: many GEAR UP high schools set aside funds to pay for 2 college application fees per student. 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 meet 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. 
  • FAFSA workshops: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid opens on October 1st annually. Seniors and their families 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. Schools may take students to campuses during pow wows or to tour American Indian programs.



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Whether you have already applied for college, are weighing the costs, or wondering whether college is the right path for you, the Montana University System wants to ensure you have the information you need to make the right decision for you.