GAINING EARLY AWARENESS AND READINESS FOR UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS (GEAR UP)

Soap Lake Sophomore Knows How To Succeed

Maryna ObzhylovaMaryna Obzhylova is a Soap Lake High School GEAR UP sophomore and she is a student that knows what it takes to be a success. She knows where she is going and what it takes to get there. Maryna is a first generation immigrant from the Ukraine. She is fluent in English, Ukrainian, and Russian. Her parents moved here so their children would have more opportunity for advancement in education and careers. She moved here when she was 6 years old and began kindergarten in Soap Lake. She has many friends and is a highly regarded student by teachers and students alike.

Maryna spends much of her time with school and babysitting her younger sister and 2 younger brothers but still finds time to do volleyball and maintain her 3.8 GPA. When asked what makes her interesting she replied, “I love to set goals and achieve them. “ She has plans to attend Big Bend to obtain a transfer degree and then apply to a university nursing school. “I would love to go to the University of Washington.” Her plans are to achieve at least a level of Registered Nurse but may go on to a higher degree such as a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant.

Maryna has always taken advantage of GEAR UP programs such as trips to college campuses. She can be found in the GEAR UP room almost every day working on classes or doing homework. She truly knows what it takes to be a success and we look forward to working with her in the future.

Soap Lake Freshmen and Sophomores Visit CWU

Central Washington UniversitySoap Lake HS freshmen and sophomores visited Central Washington University as they begin to make plans for their post-high school careers. GEAR UP has always emphasized the importance of college and university plans after graduation from high school. Through middle school, GEAR UP supported our students with study skills and leadership classes that focused on academic skills and college preparedness. Those skills have now transferred to high school and students are realizing the importance of making informed decisions about career and college.

Central Washington University added credibility to GEAR UP’s focus as they emphasized the importance of academic excellence. The students were treated to a presentation from CWU’s admissions department. “The number one thing we look at is grades” explained the presenter. “We not only look at grades but we look at how they are trending. Are they going up as you progress through high school or are they going down?” The second indicator they look at in a college application is SAT scores. Although SAT scores do not carry the same amount of weight they used to, they are still an important part of the application. Although CWU does not require an essay, admissions encourages applicants to write one if they feel there are extenuating circumstances that would make their application stronger.

GEAR UP will continue to support our students in their quest for a college education through making sure they are taking the right classes, achieving high academic scores, and having the tools necessary to chose the college that is right for them.

Soap Lake Seniors Preparing for Future

Soap Lake HS Seniors are busy preparing for the future. Nineteen out of 24 seniors have already received a college acceptance letter. Of those, eleven letters are from universities. FAFSA completion is at an all time high as 19 out of 24 students have submitted the FAFSA to get their financial aid for school. GEAR UP has been busy helping these seniors with everything they need to get through the process.

GEAR UP staff has also been busy helping students with scholarship applications for additional college financial aid. Filling out forms and writing essays for scholarships is now taking the focus of our seniors. Seniors are now discovering how important deadlines are and organization has become more important than ever.

GEAR UP is proud to take such an important lead in the preparation of these students for their future. The importance of college and eduation has been emphasized in classes since these students were in the 6th grade. The payoff is about to come to fruition as they embark on their next big adventure.

Soap Lake Freshmen and Sophomores take PSAT

Soap Lake HS Freshmen and Sophomores took the PSAT College Entrance Test this fall. Students who take the test are preparing themselves to take the SAT which is the actual college exam for colleges to use when making admission decisions. “Our students take the exam during their 9th, 10th, and 11th grade years in the Fall. When they take the actual SAT test in the Spring of their Junior year, they have seen the practice test three times. GEAR UP supports our students by preparing the students for the test with test-taking skills that will improve their score. “There are a lot of tricks to taking this test” says Site Director, Roger Chamberlain. “There are strategies to use on a multiple choice test that will help their score. Knowing when to guess and when to leave an answer blank will help their score a lot.” GEAR UP also prepares students for the test by providing vocabulary words to Soap Lake English classes. There are also reading strategies that will assist in scoring well on the test.

GEAR UP supports our students in preparing for college work. Preparing them for the SAT exam is only one of the things GEAR UP offers to support Soap Lake students.

Two FAFSA Nights Coming at Soap Lake HS

Soap Lake High School and GEAR UP will hold two FAFSA and Financial Aid Nights in January. All seniors are to be in attendance for information on college financial aid. On January 12, Soap Lake will hold an informational night for FAFSA and college scholarships. A special speaker will be in attendance and answer all questions about financial aid. “We are working with seniors and parents to ensure all seniors have their PIN number by the January 12 meeting” says GEAR UP Site Director, Roger Chamberlain. “Our meeting on the 12th will focus on all financial aid including scholarships. We will also assist anyone who would like to work on the FAFSA in our computer lab.”

January 29th will be focused strictly on completing the FAFSA. Anyone who has not completed it is encouraged to attend. Soap Lake High School has several good resource people who can assist in completion of the online form. GEAR UP’s computer lab will be open for use.

“This is a great opportunity for students and parents to take this big step in college financial assistance. We encourage all to attend.”

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