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Appalachian Guarantees Admission to Qualifying High School Seniors in 11 NC GEAR UP School Districts

By Elisabeth Wall

Current seniors in 11 Western North Carolina high school districts who meet specific academic requirements and submit an application by Friday, Nov. 1, are guaranteed admission to Appalachian State University through a newly announced program called GEAR UP Guarantee.

Appalachian’s GEAR UP Guarantee is a collaboration between the university and the region’s 11 Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) school districts to provide a seamless pathway for high school students to enroll at Appalachian.

The 11 GEAR UP school districts are Ashe, Alleghany, Burke, Clay, Graham, Madison, Rutherford, Swain, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties.

Admission is guaranteed for seniors in GEAR UP school districts who meet these three criteria:

  • Apply for admission to Appalachian by Nov. 1 to be considered for all scholarships and early admission.
  • Have a minimum weighted GPA of 3.50 and meet specific academic prerequisites as required by the University of North Carolina System.
  • Successfully complete a criminal background check and conduct review.

Appalachian’s associate vice chancellor for enrollment management, Cindy Barr, said she hopes the program gives these GEAR UP students the confidence to apply to Appalachian. “We would love to have these students and we hope they feel wanted and recruited,” she said.

Appalachian has collaborated with these 11 districts since 2015, serving over 15,000 middle and high school students through GEAR UP. Because the program is now serving its first cohort of seniors, Appalachian launched GEAR UP Guarantee. The program covers all GEAR UP high schools students through 2023.

To be considered for all available scholarships, students must apply for admission by Nov. 1 and submit an application for signature scholarships and selective academic programs by Friday, Nov. 15. GEAR UP Guarantee applicants must submit supporting materials for admission and scholarship consideration by Nov. 15. Appalachian provides resources for students to assist in completing the admissions process.

“While this program is intended to offer a more flexible and seamless pathway for first-year admission to Appalachian State University, it is important that students consider all of their options to best meet their college and career goals,” Barr said. “Students are encouraged to discuss their individual college goals and pathways with a school counselor or college adviser.”

Students who meet the GEAR UP Guarantee requirements can anticipate an admission decision within two to six weeks after completing the admission application.