Washington State University GEAR UP

The college and career journey for your student is an ongoing process. Know that you are not alone, the WSU Tri-Cities GEAR UP Program is here to assist you and your student.

The path to college starts once students enroll in school. Students will spend a significant amount of time preparing for college during their high school career. Assist your student in the process of becoming a college student. Ensure your student completes the following simple steps. Find The Best College Fit, Continue Applying for Scholarships, Take the SAT/ACT, Complete and Submit the FAFSA/WASFA Applications,  Apply to College, Review and Accept Student Financial Aid Award Letters, Accept Admissions, Register for Classes and Attend College. Congratulations, your students is now a college student.

The internet is full of numerous websites and resources about how to get into college. Yes, we understand it can get a bit overwhelming at times. Don’t go further researching on your own, start here at this website. We've provided you with the basic information for college and career preparation including the college admissions process, college and career exploration, and options for paying for college.

College Admissions

College and Career Exploration

  • Parent Guide for Career Planning - (Parents can prepare to help their student with career exploration, college options, and more. This quick and easy to follow guide for career planing provides 24 pages of facts, tools, and parent and student activities.)
  • Career Exploration for Teens - (A parent guide to start the career conversation with your high school student. Easy steps for parents to follow on how to start a career focus conversation, information on why a college career, and how to assist your student create effective goals.)
  • Career Explorer - (Career exploration website that allows for career exploration via free aptitude test, job descriptions, career videos, and other educational resources such as student loans, training opportunities and job search.)
  • Big Future - (This interactive college search tool allows you to filter search results by type of school, location, campus and housing, majors and learning environment, sports and activities, admissions requirements, academic credit acceptance, net price and financial aid availability, support services, and diversity and more.)

Paying for College

FAFSA and Federal Student Aid - (ATTENTION Class of 2017 and beyond - Filing for FAFSA got easier! Starting October 2016, students will be able to submit the FAFSA earlier AND use earlier income information. This is due to the announcement made by President Obama on September 14, 2015. Learn more about this change here.)

  • FAFSA - (The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA available to students to continue with a post-secondary education. Students may receive (if eligible), grants, loans, and work-study funds based on the income eligibility.)
  • Estimate your federal student aid - (Use the FAFSA4caster to estimate your financial aid even if you aren't ready to apply for federal student aid yet.)
  • How to fill out the FAFSA in 7 easy steps - (Learn how to fill out the FAFSA in seven easy steps just under 10 minutes. Video provides the basics about the FAFSA application while reviewing how students and parents can prepare for the FAFSA, how to get started, student eligibility, student dependency determination, tax information and IRS data retrieval tools, and signing and submitting the FAFSA.)
  • How Financial Aid Works - (A walk through of how financial aid works, resources to pay for college, and loan repayment options..)
  • Programas de Becas Federales para Estudiantes - (El Gobierno federal otorga subvenciones (becas por necesidad) a estudiantes que asisten a centros universitarios, institutos profesionales y universidades. Las subvenciones, a diferencia de los préstamos, no tienen que devolverse. Los programas de becas federales para estudiantes más importantes se describen brevemente a continuación.)


Dreamers (HB1079/DACA Students)

Scholarships- (Scholarship lists for both Junior and Senior students.)

Other sources of information:

Career & College Fairs - Attend your local career fairs that allow you and your student to gain a good understanding about the universities in the Northwest. College fairs are an excellent options to start making connections with college admission recruiters. Visit with the GEAR UP Program Site Manager at your school for more information on college fairs near your area. The Pacific Northwest Association for College Admission Counseling offer the PNACAC fairs free to the public, visit their website here for more information.

Family College Information Nights - Family nights are another opportunity to connect with the GEAR UP school staff to continue learning about the steps your student needs to take for college and career preparation. Don’t wait any longer visit your school GEAR UP office.

Student Workshops - Encourage your student to attend the student workshops provided by the GEAR UP staff at your school. Workshops are the perfect opportunity for your student to learn and get hands on experience on the available resources to prepare for college. Some of the topics discussed during the workshops include:

  • Career Exploration
  • The Best College Fit
  • College Search
  • High School Support
  • College Admissions Process
  • Paying for College
  • Financial Literacy





Getting a Federal Student Loan

State Financial Aid for DREAMers

A new state law has expanded eligibility for the Washington State Need Grant to low income, non-citizen students who meet the program's eligibility requirements and also satisfy the residency criteria. Washington State joined California, New Mexico, and Texas by in enacting its own version of the Dream Act which extends state grants to undocumented students.

Visit realhopewa.org for more information.
The free Washington Application for State Financial Aid, or WASFA.
College Place
Saint John/Endicott
Moses Lake