Stephen F. Austin State University

Pathway to College

The GEAR UP Approach

GEAR UP provides a holistic approach to student support services with career and counseling plans designed to facilitate the growth and development of each student at Central ISD, Hudson ISD, Lufkin ISD, Nacogdoches ISD, and Woden ISD.

By collaborating with partner school districts, GEAR UP offers a range of services and events that allow schools to provide much needed support to students and their families. Services include, but are not limited to the following: Career Cruising, academic portfolios, and grade monitoring. This allows each school district to respond to the specific needs of their school while ensuring that each student meets important milestones associated with preparing for college and career.

How to Choose a College

Using the FIT method

Consider selecting a school based on how well it fits your needs/wants and you will increase your ability to succeed. After all, the ultimate goal is for you to stay in college and actually graduate.

There are 5 crucial categories of selecting a college according to what best fits you.

1. Career aspiration fit (will it prepare me for work?)

2. Academic fit (do I meet the admission requirements?)

3. Financial fit (will I need help paying for it?)

4. Social fit (are the students similar to me?)

5. Geographical fit (is it located where I will be comfortable living?)

Using the Choose 4 or More method

After you determine 4 to 7 colleges based on using the "Fit" selection method. Next, prepare to submit applications to 4 or more schools that you can rank based on your chances to be accepted.

1 Safety school- Where students' admission credentials exceed those of the most recently admitted freshman class

2 Good Fits schools- Where students' admission credentials are equivalent to those of the most recently admitted freshman class

1 Reach school - Where the institution's average admission criteria for admitted students far exceeds the students' admission credentials

College Planning Resources

FIT Research

CollegeBoard -

White House Scorecard -


College Prep 101 - High School Freshman Checklist -

College Prep 101 - Test Prep -

Financial Aid

Who gets aid?

Apply for aid - FAFSA

High School Graduation Requirements

High School Graduation Requirements -