GEAR UP U! takes place at Glenville State University

Glenville, W. Va. – More than 150 rising 9th and 10th graders across the state gathered at Glenville State University’s campus from June 26 – 29 for the 2024 GEAR UP U! Summer Academy (GUU!). GUU! is a free college and career preparatory academy hosted by West Virginia GEAR UP and is free for all participants. GUU! is sponsored by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s federally funded “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs” (GEAR UP) initiative.

During GUU!, students were exposed to life on a college campus. They participated in classes based on career interests, attended leadership and team building sessions, and engaged in exciting and educational activities aimed at preparing and encouraging students to explore their postsecondary options. In addition to educational and physical wellness courses, students engaged in a variety of activities that allowed them to interact with peers from across West Virginia and make lasting connections. Through daily mentoring sessions with current college students, GUU! participants gained insights into what it takes to get into college and thrive there.

Chris Reed, a student from Van Junior/Senior High School who participated in the summer academy experience, said, “The counselors were amazing and it was great learning from them. Nobody was left out and everyone was given a chance to participate in activities and games. I enjoyed the classes and professors at Glenville. I learned so much and it made me excited to go to college. Most of all, I liked making new friends and I hope to see them at camp next year.”

The highlight of the GUU! was the exposure to Glenville State University’s campus. Students lived like college students, staying overnight in the campus dormitories, dining in the campus dining hall, and taking classes in various classrooms across campus – some of which were taught by Glenville professors.

“GEAR UP U! gives students a true college experience while also providing them the opportunity to explore career paths and their education options after high school,” stated GEAR UP U! counselor, Ricki Steward. “I have been involved with GEAR UP for almost seven years as a camp counselor. Working with students and for the GEAR UP program has such an amazing impact on me as a person and as an educator.”

West Virginia GEAR UP is a college access program funded by the United States Department of Education that provides college planning and readiness services to students in Boone, Clay, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo, Nicholas, Roane, Wayne, Webster, and Wirt counties. For more information, visit

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