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GEAR UP Offers Opportunities for College

Summer Programs Provide Real-Life Experiences

June 16, 2014

This week, 180 Anaheim high school sophomores are attending Cal State Fullerton's GEAR UP University, previewing what it's like to be a college student.

For the next two-weeks they'll attend courses on sustainability with field trips to the Bolsa Chica Conservancy and Ecology Center and CSUF's Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in Modjeska Canyon.

An additional 80 high school graduates who will be attending college as first-generation scholars will spend a week living in the campus dorms and getting their own preview of university life.

Both groups are part of the university's GEAR UP — Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs — a federally funded effort that follows Anaheim students from middle school through high school, and provides tutoring by CSUF students with similar backgrounds, academic counseling, workshops, Saturday Academies in math and English, as well as college tours and other support throughout the year. The summer GEAR UP University provides enhanced college preparatory courses and experiences to keep them making progress.

The residential program draws graduates from Anaheim, Katella and Loara high schools, many of whom began with the program while attending Sycamore and South junior high schools. 

"Through GEAR UP, we expose these students to a college environment and experiences not usually available to low-income and first-generation college students," said Adriana A. Badillo , GEAR UP director. "The overall goal is to help students pursue a postsecondary education through academic preparation, exposure to postsecondary options and knowledge about college requirements.

Program staff work closely with the school district and have been incorporating teaching development programs — offered by university faculty — to help district teachers prepare their students for college.

Added to the program this year is the P21 Leadership Academy for 60 of the high school students on campus this week. They will receive leadership training and mentorship with mentors from the office of Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, Kaiser Permanente, Disneyland and the Anaheim Unified School District.

Cal State Fullerton has received three six-year grants from the U.S. Department of Education since the GEAR UP program began in 1999. The latest grant was awarded in 2008.

Media Contact:

Pamela McLaren, 657-278-4852

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