Starting October 2013, GEAR UP is coordinating College Application and Exploration Season (CAES) to assist high school students with their exploration and applications for college. CAES was an initiative of GEAR UP Hawai‘i and is based on "College Application Week" program started by GEAR UP North Carolina in 2005 which has since expanded to 22 states. The goal of CAES is to encourage high school seniors, particularly prospective first-generation college students from low-income families, to apply to at least one college before they graduate from high school, giving every student the option to go to college. Local volunteers, college faculty and staff work with pilot high schools in the state to plan events that encouraged their seniors to complete a college application.
This year, thirteen schools will be participating: Castle High School, Farrington High School, Kahuku High School, Kailua High School, Ke Kula 'O 'Ehunuikaimalino, Kohala High School, McKinley High School, Nānākuli Intermediate and High School, Roosevelt High School, Wailaua Intermediate and High School, Waianae High School and Waipahu High School. Each school will coordinate its own application event as well as pre- and post-application activities with the goal of every senior completing and submitting at least one college application.
Special packets are also being sent to over 10,000 Step Up Scholars in the Classes of 2014 and 2015 to provide them with resources and information on preparing and applying for college and financial aid. To view a sample of of the materials included in the packet, click here.