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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.

  • College Greenlight
    A free online portal that helps students keep track of their college and scholarship searches and connect with colleges.

  • 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.

  • Tests to take to get into college
    Learn more about college admissions tests like the ACT or SAT, and how to register and prepare.

Choosing a College

  • Best Fit College Navigator for Utah
    USU STARS! has put together an easy-to-use tool that can help students decide which colleges and universities in Utah are a good fit for them.

  • College Board
    Has many tools, from testing and AP class information to a tool to help you compare colleges side-by-side to compare location, selectivity, majors, activities, and price for U.S colleges and universities.

  • College Navigator
    A college-search tool with information on average amount of various forms of financial aid that students receive and a comprehensive list of all academic areas of study on all U.S. colleges and universities.

  • College Results Online
    An interactive tool designed to help counselors, parents, students, and others with information about college graduation rates for nearly any four-year college or university in the country.

  • Colleges That Change Lives
    A website with information on colleges and universities that offer innovative, transformative, and student-centered approaches to higher education.

  • ScholarMatcher
    A college search tool for low-income, minority, and first-generation students to show colleges offering support, financial aid, and other opportunities.

  • 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