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What is USU STARS! GEAR UP?

Utah State University STARS! GEAR UP seeks to expand the college-bound culture in Utah. It is a program that helps students (and their families) figure out what they want to do with their lives, and how they will get there. We want students to know that education after high school is achievable, accessible, and affordable. Read more about us in our About Us section. It is never too early to start planning for college.

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Why Go to College?

Education after high school helps people to have more options when it comes to finding employment. College graduates make more money, on average, than those who do not continue their education. College is an experience which allows you to meet new people, make life-long connections, and find a fulfilling career. Read on to learn more about why attending college is a good idea.

Student using a laptop.

How do I Prepare for College?

From middle school through senior year, checklists to help you prepare and pay for college. Select your grade level from the list below to see a detailed checklist of things you can be doing now to prepare for college. Parents, there is a list for you too!

Planning for College

  • BigFuture
    A great all-in-one site to make a free, personalized college plan whether you're in middle school or a senior in high school. Find the best college fit for you, explore careers and related majors, and learn how to pay for it.

  • I'm First
    Advice and information from students who are the first in their family to go to college, as well as professionals from colleges and universities.

  • KnowHow2Go
    Learn the four steps to college and access additional resources including a virtual college tour.

  • Opportunities Workbook
    A free downloadable workbook that helps high school students choose the right college, understand admission requirements, identify types of financial aid and more.

Exploring Careers

  • Learn How To Become
    Search career paths and research education options, job details and salaries.

  • Shmoop
    Career and Life Skills Resources - free resources for high school, college, and career readiness.

  • Virtual Job Shadow
    An interactive tool to help students discover and develop career paths based on choice, not chance.

Choosing a College

  • College Scorecard
    Search colleges by location, size, academic program and many other criteria, and find out how much it will cost to attend.

  • College Greenlight
    Helps you find the perfect school and sends you reminders about application deadlines and scholarships matches.

  • Unigo
    Advice and reviews from current college students, counselors, and other experts.

  • Campus Visits in Utah
    Select a school from the map on our campus visit page to see how you can visit its campus.

Paying for College

  • Federal Student Aid
    A comprehensive resource about getting money for college that includes videos about the process.

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid
    Complete the FAFSA to get federal financial aid; apply your senior year of high school and every year you are in college.

  • FAFSA4Caster
    Estimates how much money you might receive in federal aid.

  • Tuition Funding Sources
    Scholarship database with financial aid, student loan, and career exploration tools.

  • StepUp
    Utah’s go-to source for expert college info and guidance on preparing and paying for college. StepUp helps you discover the college path that's right for you, whether that means a one-, two-, or four-year degree.