Javier SmithTips for a Successful School Year

Hello, Nevada high school students! My name is Javier Smith, and I am lucky enough to help manage the GEAR UP program and partner with the state of Nevada, its institutions of higher education, and the local school districts you attend to help make the pathway to education after high school clearer and easier.

Get to know your school counselor, GEAR UP Specialists, and the GEAR UP First Year College Advisors! You are a part of the GEAR UP community, which gives you access to wonderful people ready to support you. Building a relationship with these people will allow you to take advantage of their expert knowledge to help you start planning for and working on your college and career goals.

Do your own research! It’s a big world filled with all sorts of career pathways. Take some time to look into what sorts of jobs and career fields interest you. Creating a list of potential careers will help you to determine what requirements you need to fulfill to enter that field and be successful. Do you need a college degree, a technical degree, or professional certifications? Look into your options, then discuss with your GEAR UP Specialist for more guidance.

Attend college and career fairs! First, the fairs are not just for seniors! Any student ready to begin learning about colleges and careers should attend—the earlier the better! The fairs are a great opportunity for you to connect with employers and college representatives (a.k.a. your GEAR UP First Year College Advisors!) to learn more about what their programs offer and what you need to apply. Second, prepare for the fairs by creating a list of questions for the employers and college reps and be sure that some of your questions are about student experiences and other topics that cannot be easily answered by a Google search. Finally, after attending these fairs, meet with your GEAR UP Specialists to debrief and keep working on you plan.

Thinking about your future can feel a bit overwhelming, which is why we recommend that you start your research and planning as early as possible. But remember, you have GEAR UP support at your school! If you haven’t already, drop in to meet your school’s amazing GEAR UP Specialists. They are experts and can also connect you to resources that help you with planning, financial aid, and application completion.

The beginning of the school year is an exciting time for us all. Make the most of this year by putting in the work and connecting with the GEAR UP community for support. Best of luck with the 2023-2024 school year and beyond!