GEAR UP at Penn

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GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a student group at Penn that aims to prepare local Philadelphia high school students for their postsecondary pathways by providing them with academic support and college-positive mentorship. 

Coaches are trained to support classrooms and afterschool programs, and to advise students about two-year, four-year, or vocational college programs. GEAR UP Coaches also have opportunities to connect with local teachers and school administrators, serve on college & career panels, and design programming for younger students. 

Work-study and volunteer positions are available!


Most Recent
Question: What is GEAR UP doing for the virtual semester? - Anonymous
GEAR UP is planning to engage with students and teachers virtually. This might take the form of afterschool programming via Zoom, virtual college and career panels, or even virtual field trips. Most likely, GEAR UP will host a little bit of everything. We are also excited about our new website which we will use to interact with students during non-programming hours. Our Coaches are creating pre-packaged content (videos and presentations) to share with students and teachers on this new online platform. We hope to also publish more interactive elements, like blogs, newsletters, and maybe even live chats.
- Ania Alberski
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Question: What is the time commitment? - Anonymous
Anything you decide it to be! We unofficially ask that our volunteers commit to serving students for at least 2 hours per week, just maintain a sense of consistency within our schools. Some Coaches work as many as 15 hours per week, while others only pop in for a 2-hour afterschool session each week. It depends on your schedule and what you're looking to get out of the experience.
- Ania Alberski
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Question: What is the most impactful experience you've had during your time here? - Anonymous
GEAR UP has allowed me to build meaningful relationships with high school students and teachers, as well as other college Coaches. There are so many memories to choose from! On one occasion, a student warmed my heart without even knowing it. I was supporting students in an English classroom as they wrote reflections in their journals about the past marking period. One student, who I had worked with for two years at that point, called me over to review his work. He wrote about his persistence and improved grades, but he even gave me a shoutout for helping to boost his confidence. I couldn't stop smiling for the rest of the day knowing that students appreciated my support!
- Ania Alberski
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Basic Info

2 Registered (50 - 100 Members)

Not Currently Accepting Members

Application Required

Both Semesters


How to Get Involved

Please fill out this interest form about joining in the fall!

'22 - '23 GEAR UP Interest FormĀ 

Any questions feel free to email us at!

Additional Pages