Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness to Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)

UNC Asheville is proud to join Appalachian State University as a four-year higher education partner on its seven-year GEAR UP program designed to promote and foster a college-going ideology in school districts throughout Western North Carolina.  GEAR UP encourages young people to have high expectations, stay in school, study hard, and take the right courses to go to college.

GEAR UP is designed to support students as they progress through three distinct, yet equally important, transitions: 1) College awareness and readiness; 2) College enrollment; and 3) College achievement by employing evidence-based support services and resources that are early indicators and predictors of success.

One tangible resource that has come out of UNC Asheville’s work with GEAR UP is this printable book. This material was developed to help guide students, families, and educators in planning for the next steps after high school. Embark Planning Your Next Steps After High School Workbook

En español. Embárcate Planificación de tu futuro después de la escuela secundaria

The objectives of GEAR UP are to:

  • Ensure that all students have access to rigorous courses that prepare them for college.
  • Provide early information about college options, required courses, and financial aid.
  • Increase the participation and success of students in “gateway” courses such as Algebra.
  • Provide information to families about the costs of college and the availability of student financial assistance.
  • Be a catalyst for school reform especially at the middle school grades.
  • Provide support for parents in preparing their students for college
  • Develop intensive tutoring, mentoring, and counseling programs that meet students’ needs.
  • Build capacity for continuous school improvement through funding and assistance for staff training and professional development.

UNC Asheville will offer services and resources, including teacher professional development seminars led by faculty and students; innovative pre-college awareness programs that allow students and their families to think critically about college match and fit; and summer enrichment programs depicting the authenticity of college life. The University will serve students, parents, and teachers from Alleghany, Ashe, Burke, Clay, Graham, Madison, Rutherford, Swain, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey counties.

For more information, please contact the Andrea Martinez, UNC Asheville’s GEAR UP Coordinator, at or 828.250.3960