What is GEAR UP?

GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) was created in 1998 as part of the Higher Education Act to encourage young people to have high expectations, stay in school, t2011, Reaching the Goal Logoake the right courses, study hard and go to college.

East Central University's TEAM GEAR UP received a 6 year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to provide services to students in 9 rural districts in Coal, Johnston, and Pontotoc counties. The program began in September 2005 with a group of cohort 7th grade students and will follow them through graduation in May 2011.


Mission and PurposeYoung girl and teacher looking through microscope

The mission of East Central University's TEAM GEAR UP program is to prepare students to achieve their aspirations of higher education. The purpose of TEAM GEAR UP is to form partnerships with businesses, community organizations and educational entities to assist in equipping students with the academic skills, encouragement, information and resources necessary to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.



  • Strengthen and encourage academic achievement;
  • Expand career awareness of cohort students;
  • Provide mentoring services and activities to cohort students;TEAM GEAR UP student climbing a rope net
  • Provide students with information and assistance to prepare, register and take college entrance exams;
  • Inform, assist and enroll students in postsecondary education;
  • Educate students and parents of the types and availability of financial aid and provide assistance with applying for financial aid;
  • Provide professional development opportunities for partner school staff;
  • Promote parental involvement in GEAR UP activities and to increase their knowledge of academic preparation for college and financial aid availability.


  • Academic Counseling
  • Tutoring
  • Mentoring
  • Cultural Activities
  • College Campus Visits
  • Career Development Activities
  • Career Field Trips
  • College Planning Activities
  • College Admission and Financial Aid seminars for students and parents
  • Summer Programs
  • Professional Development for Teachers


Programs such as Character Counts, Honor Above All, and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens will be implemented with the students in each partnership school.

Online Brochure
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