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(Photo courtesy: MiraCosta College)

Innovative Program Gearing Up to Send Students to MiraCosta College

Oceanside CA— A record number of high school students in Oceanside are taking part in an intensive summer college preparatory program at MiraCosta College through the end of June.

GEAR UP for College is an innovative, four-week program that offers college-level courses, tutoring, textbooks, meals and more for participating juniors and seniors at Oceanside and El Camino high schools. It is part of GEAR UP, an acronym for Gaining Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, which is aimed at increasing the number of low-income students who are prepared to enroll at and succeed in college.

Fifty-eight students from Oceanside and El Camino high schools took part in GEAR UP for College at MiraCosta College last summer. This year, that number nearly doubled to 115 students.

“MiraCosta College and the Oceanside Unified School District are committed to ensuring all students have access to a quality higher education, and we are pleased to see a record number of high school students taking part in the GEAR UP for College program this summer,” said Julie Johnson, who coordinates the GEAR UP program at MiraCosta College.

This year’s program began June 6 and runs Monday through Thursday. The 115 high school students are spending their mornings in Communication 101 (Public Speaking) and Sociology 101, both of which are transferable to colleges and universities. Afternoons are spent working with instructional assistants to make sure students understand their morning lessons. In addition, eight guest speakers from throughout the community are invited to talk about their life experiences with the students during the 16-day program.

Despite their young age, the high schoolers are treated no differently than college students, and course content is exactly the same as offered to traditional college-aged students.

GEAR UP for College, had a profound impact on students who took part when it was introduced for the first time last year at the Oceanside Campus. Luis Flores, then a high school junior, was among the participants who enrolled in a college communications course last summer.

“I knew nothing about communication and was terrified because it was a college level course,” he said at the time. “Now I realize it’s not that difficult, especially if we use all the resources available to us like academic support.”

GEAR UP is funded through a seven-year, $7-million grant awarded to MiraCosta College to work with Oceanside Unified School District in serving students in the classes of 2017 and 2018 when they were at Chavez Middle School and Jefferson Middle School beginning in 2011. The program last year earned the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce’s Innovator Award.

GEAR UP for College is also funded through the MiraCosta College Student Equity program.

“GEAR UP for College is an innovative way to get young students excited about and prepared for college,” said Dr. Sunny Cooke, superintendent/president of MiraCosta College. “The results have been impressive and it only made sense to expand the program this year.”