Educator Toolbox

Own Your Own Future

  • Texas GEAR UP

Created By: Texas GEAR UP/Texas Education Agency

Audience: Students (plus tools for educators and parents)

Focus: General college readiness

Big Picture: This student-focused site offers up complete college-prep materials organized by grade level and by Why Go/Prep/Find/Pay categories. Short, scripted videos engage students, and they’re paired with supplemental materials used to extend learning after viewing. An educator portal provides a large collection of lesson plans and classroom activities that can be used with the site’s videos—also all sorted by grade level and topic. Bilingual middle-school and high-school parent guides even walk families through the whole process of supporting students on the complex journey to postsecondary education.

Big Challenge Solved: Instead of lumping all college-prep resources for students together, the site offers targeted guidance, allowing users to filter the site through their specific grade in school (from 7th to 12th).

Must-Use: Illustrated college roadmaps for grades 7-12 break down the grade-appropriate required prep work into monthly to-do lists.

Most Unique Tool: The bilingual For Parents section splits into advice for either middle-school or high-school parents, then provides a comprehensive “packet” of relevant info as a PDF download.

Best Middle-School Student Tool: Why Go? serves as the most important section for 7th- and 8th-grade students, since they’re just beginning to think about their future—and also provides some great videos, like one on transitioning from middle school to high school.

Best High-School Student Tool: The college roadmaps (found on the dashboard of each grade level) are particularly helpful for high-schoolers who would benefit from month-by-month advice on what they should be doing when to ensure they’re on track for college success.

Protip: Although the site lets students target their specific grade in school, we suggest also using the grade above for guidance—this will especially help those who are checking the site out midway through the school year.

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