What are the GEAR UP CT Services?

GEAR UP CT programs encourage student enrollment in rigorous and challenging curricula and coursework in order to reduce the need for remedial coursework at the postsecondary level; provide information to students and families regarding financial aid for postsecondary education; improve the number of participating students who obtain a secondary school diploma and complete applications for and enroll in a program of postsecondary education; and provide scholarships, as available.

Academic Coaching
After-School Programming / Enrichment
Career Panels - Career Awareness
College Exposure & Immersion Experiences
College Credit Course Opportunities
• College Campus Tours
• College & Career Workshops
• College Resource Fairs
• Credit Recovery
• First-Year College or Career Support
• PSAT/SAT Prep Workshops
• Self-Care Workshops
• SMART Goal Setting
• STEM Work-Based Learning Opportunities
• Student Workshops: Social - Emotional Support, STEM,  Mentoring Programs, Time Management.

How To Get Started: A Student Checklist

High School Student Checklist
  • Stay organized with your classes – use a planner.
  • Keep track of your grades and GPA.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Be an advocate for yourself.
  • Seek out help from your teachers, school counselors, mentors and GU teams.
  • What do I need to do to graduate from high school?

In 2017 the Connecticut General Assembly took a bold step in its journey to create a graduation diploma system that prepares all students for the future of their choosing while allowing local districts, schools, and students the flexibility to create a wide variety of learning pathways.  A summary of the major changes to the graduation requirements is captured in the table below. They include an increase in the number of required credits, significant emphasis on flexibility and multiple pathways, less restrictive course requirements, required students supports and remediation, and a new mastery-based diploma assessment requirement. This new law maintains the provision around mastery-based learning and graduation.

Chart for High Schoo Kids to follow for credits.
College Readiness
1. CT State PACT: PACT - Free Community College in CT
2. CSCU Academic Programs: CSCU - Academic Programs (
3. CSCU Admission Process for Community Colleges, State Universities, Charter Oak: CSCU - Admissions (
4. Become a CT State Student: Become a CT State Student - CT State
5. College Degrees 101: PDF
6. College Fit: PDF
6. Preparing for College: Preparing for College
Career Readiness
Workforce Development & Continuing Education: Workforce Development - CT State                                            
Workforce Development “Find A Career”:
Find a program - CT State                                            

Career Speaker Series

1. Art, Design & Technology:
2. Careers in Law:
3. Computer Science/UX:
4. Defense Industry & ESPN Sr. Video Editor:
5. ESPN Video Content Producer & Small Business Owner:
6. Higher Education/Military:
7. JAX Labs:
8. Journalism & Entrepreneurship:
9. Legislature, Insurance & UX:
10. Public Service:
11. Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy:
12. The Hartford & Hartford Lions Soccer Academy:
13. Welcome to the Metaverse:                                       
How to help support your child as he/she transitions into high school:
  • Help your child organize a schedule.
  • Help your child set goals with a time limit for completing particular tasks.
  • Listen to what your child tells you and is really saying between the lines.
  • Be sensitive to any fears your child might have. Sometimes it is helpful to reserve comments and actions until you have facts about a situation and know how your child thinks and feels about it.
  • Discuss peer pressure.
  • Communication is the key to being helpful to your child in the pre-teen years.
  • Welcome and get to know your child’s friends.
  • Become aware of physical and emotional changes in your child.
  • Does your child have good study habits? Does he or she read what is necessary to complete an assignment? hand in assignments on time? prepare ahead of time for assignment sand tests instead of cramming at the last minute?
  • Does your child have the supplies needed to complete assignments?
  • My Future, My Way: First Steps Towards College (Add this PDF link:)
  • Think about college as an important part of your future. Discuss your thoughts and ideas with your family and with people at school.
  • Start saving for college if you haven’t already.
  • Take challenging and interesting classes to prepare for high school.
  • Ask your parent or guardian to help you research which high schools or special programs will most benefit your interests.
  • Develop strong study habits.
  • Do your best in school and on standardized tests. If you are having difficulty, don’t give up—get help from a teacher, tutor, or mentor.
  • Become involved in school- or community-based activities that let you explore your interests and learn new things.
  • Speak with adults, such as your teacher, school counselor or librarian, relatives, or family friends, who you think have interesting jobs. Ask them what they like about their job and what education they needed for it.
  • Find out why you should “prepare for college now”.
  • Find puzzles and games and learn about a wide variety of careers—both at
    NASA and elsewhere—at NASA’s ”For Students” web page -
  • Talk to your child about his or her interests and help match those interests with a college major and career.      
  • Help your child develop good study habits, such as finishing all work before going on social media or playing computer games.
  • Stay in contact with your child’s teachers and counselor so that they can let you know about any changes in your child’s behavior or schoolwork.
  • Keep an eye on your child’s grades, and help him or her find tutoring assistance, if necessary.

What's next?

Higher Education Expenses Checklist
  • Two tax credits help offset the costs (tuition, fees, books, supplies, equipment) of college or career school by reducing the amount of your income tax:
    • The American Opportunity Credit allows you to claim up to $2,500 per student per year for the first four years of school as the student works toward a degree or similar credential.
    • The Lifetime Learning Credit allows you to claim up to $2,000 per student per year for any college or career school tuition and fees, as well as for books, supplies, and equipment that were required for the course and had to be purchased from the school.