Students are most successful in reaching their postsecondary goals when they attend colleges and universities that are a "good fit". Therefore, Oregon GEAR UP has partnered with the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities (The Alliance) to ensure students have access to information about all of Oregon’s higher education options. In addition to hosting a summer program for students, the partnership provides opportunities for district and school-level staff to visit Oregon's private, not-for-profit campuses in order to learn more about the variety of options available to their students.

School counselors, principals, teachers and other educators tour campus with current students as well as have customized information sessions about admissions and financial aid and facilitated discussions with faculty and student services staff. The response to the first three visits to Warner Pacific College, Lewis & Clark College and Northwest Christian University have been overwhelmingly positive: every participant agreed they would attend another campus visit. For three-fourths of the educators, it was their first visit to the campus and 100% of participants left feeling knowledgable about the colleges' offerings (a 71% increase from before the visit) and 100% of participants felt they knew what type of student would be successful at that institution. "The trips were well worth it - I have already been encouraging several students to visit the colleges," said one educator.

This was one of the best college information sessions I have attended.

Campus visit to Warner Pacific for educators

The colleges also benefit from the experience by learning more about the unique needs of rural, low-income communities, schools, and students. "Being able to host counselors and educators through Oregon GEAR UP on our campus allowed us the opportunity to share our story, who we are, and what types of students succeed in our community," said Kacie Gerdrum, executive director of admissions at Northwest Christian University. "In return, it was also an opportunity for us to hear what types of barriers and obstacles students and families are currently facing as they work through the process of researching, applying for and enrolling into post-secondary education."

Any educator is welcome to visit Oregon's private colleges and learn more during Oregon Private College Week, July 25-29, 2016.

Partnerships do not necessarily reflect an endorsement of the views and policies of the partner institutions.