The Woodward News

November 21, 2013

GEAR UP event offers college application help

Rachael Van Horn
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Ever sat down to apply to a college?

The process can be confusing at best and downright intimidating at worst, according to Kristi Allison, spokesman for Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

On Friday, any student at Woodward High School and 35 other school districts will have onsite help to make online application to any colleges or universities they may choose as part of the second year of the Oklahoma GEAR UP program.

Oklahoma GEAR UP is a federal college readiness program administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education that is meant to help with the college application blues, Allison said.

It was launched in 2012 to 24 school districts to assist students with the college application process.

It has worked well in helping students who might be overwhelmed by the protracted nature of the procedure and might otherwise not ever apply to college, said Anjanette Laverty, senior and sophomore counselor at Woodward High School.

The event at Woodward School District will begin in the morning on Friday in the library, Laverty said.

Elk City Public Schools and Guymon Public Schools will also be participating, according to Allison.

For her part, Laverty has been working ahead of time with students to help them prepare for Friday so they can tackle those essay questions, know how to download their resume and answer any other questions typically found on a college application.

"What we have done in the past has been that they came into the office one at a time and they got help with it, which took a lot of time," Laverty said "I have had more students who enjoyed this and stayed late to get it done and it worked well to get that thing off their chest."

According to Laverty, a representative from Northern Oklahoma College will be on hand to help students with general questions about college life.

Other staff will be on hand to help with answering questions and completing the application, she said.

"It (the admissions procedure) is very intimidating and so that is the goal for doing it as a group," Laverty said. "That way, if they get frustrated and just feel like turning off the computer, someone is there to help them."

The primary goal of College App Week is to get more senior students, especially those who haven’t considered attending college and those from first generation college families, to apply and establish relationships with colleges and universities that will hopefully lead to enrollment, Allison said.

“We are excited about this special opportunity for high school seniors,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “College App Week is a national initiative that has achieved tremendous success in other states and we hope to see the same success in Oklahoma and expand this initiative to even more high schools in our state over the next several years. We expect to see the number of students who enroll in college increase because of this program’s capability to connect students with campuses that match their personal goals and needs. ”