Application Process

PLEASE NOTE: We Are Not Accepting Applications to the GUALA Program for the Class of 2018. Information Below is for Archival Purposes Only. 

 

GUALA Application Process

Applications for GUALA Class of 2017 will be accepted until April 1, 2016!

Are you a current or former GEAR UP student (or know of one) who is interested in becoming the voice of GEAR UP in your community?  Keep reading and apply to become one of 30 Alumni Leaders selected to the GUALA Class of 2017!


GUALA Application Timeline

February and March 2016:

  • Nominations are collected as GEAR UP Programs submit names and contact information of alumni that might be interested in applying, so that NCCEP may encourage them to apply. Applicants do not have to be nominated to apply. Nominations are submitted electronically, using this form.
     
  • Online application is posted. NCCEP will make the application available via the NCCEP website, and will share it widely among existing and past GEAR UP grantees, and encourage sharing through social media.

April 1, 2016:

  • Application Deadline. Applicants will be required to submit application materials including a transcript, essays, and a recommendation from their former/supporting GEAR UP Program. NCCEP will develop a review panel to read applications and select the 30 Alumni Leaders from the applications submitted.

Mid-April, 2016:

  • Select and notify GEAR UP Alumni Leaders. GEAR UP Alumni Leaders will be notified of their selection and will be required to confirm acceptance of the 12-month commitment, which includes their required attendance at the D.C. Alumni Leadership Training in June. NCCEP will also notify the recommending/supporting GEAR UP program to confirm support for the GEAR UP Alumni Leader throughout their 12-month commitment. GUALA Alternates will also be notified of their status.

Late-April, 2016:

  • Announce the new GUALA Class. NCCEP will share the news broadly and collaborate with local GEAR UP programs, and the student’s postsecondary institution, to maximize media opportunities with templates to use for local media.

June 12-18, 2016

  • Alumni Leadership Training, Washington DC

GUALA Eligibility

  • Applicants must be at least 18 years old by June 1, 2016.
     
  • The GEAR UP community is committed to student success. Therefore, applicants must demonstrate a track record of academic performance alongside extracurricular commitments. Priority will be given to students with a 3.0 GPA or above, but all are encouraged to apply. To be eligible for consideration, the applicant must be a former GEAR UP student who is entering college/university in Fall 2016, already enrolled, or recently graduated.
     
  • Applicant must be able to attend the required Alumni Leadership Training, a week-long, intensive learning experience held in Washington, D.C., from June 12 through June 18, 2016. NCCEP will cover travel expenses, lodging, and meals as part of the training program.
     
  • The GUALA program year will run from May 2016 through May 2017. Applicants must commit to the 12-month program as reqiured by the program (see Expectations of Selected Alumni Leaders for additional details).

GUALA Application Requirements
Interested students must be 18 years old by June 1, 2016, a current/recent GEAR UP student entering college/university in Fall 2016, already enrolled or recently graduated, and must also be able to attend the required D.C. Leadership Training (with expenses paid for by NCCEP) June 12-18, 2016.

Applicants are required to submit the following application materials:

Step #1: Electronic Application: The application is located here and is due no later than April 1, 2016. The application includes two 500 word essays:

  • Essay Question #1: Reflect on your life and personal motivation. What makes you a good fit for GUALA? Describe how personal experiences—including your participation in GEAR UP—have influenced your development. Share specific examples of what inspires you to action.

     
  • Essay Question #2: Reflect on your goals as a leader. What would you like to do as a GEAR UP Alumni Leader to help strengthen your community and GEAR UP program? Given an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, what are the skills and knowledge you’d like to develop while in GUALA?

Step #2: Official Transcript:The transcript should be from the applicant’s most recently attended academic institution and should be mailed (no later than April 1, 2016) to:

NCCEP
C/O: GUALA
1400 20th St. NW, Suite G-1
Washington, D.C. 20036

Step #3: Electronic Recommendation Form: The recommendation form should be submitted by the applicant’s current/former GEAR UP Program no later than April 1, 2016. It is strongly encouraged that the form be completed by a current staff member of the GEAR UP Program willing to also serve as the applicant’s GUALA Coach (mentor/sponsor) for the GUALA year of service.


GUALA Selection Criteria
Selection for the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy (GUALA) is competitive and is based upon the following criteria:

  1. Academic Record: An academic transcript from the most recently attended academic institution is required. The GEAR UP community is committed to student success, therefore, applicants for the GUALA must demonstrate a track record of academic performance alongside extracurricular commitments. Priority will be given to students with a 3.0 GPA or above, but all are encouraged to apply.
     
  2. Essays: Applicants are required to submit two essays. The content of the two essays will be evaluated for the communication skills, articulation of ideas, creativity, and substance exhibited in the writing submissions.
     
  3. Recommendation: Applicants are required to request that their current/former GEAR UP Program submit a Recommendation Form on the applicant’s behalf. It is preferred that applicants come highly recommended from the GEAR UP program they have an established relationship with and with which they will be working closely with throughout the year of service.
     
  4. Support from a current GEAR UP program: GUALA applicants with an established relationship or willingness to establish a relationship with their current/former GEAR UP Program are preferred.
     
  5. Personal Qualities: The applicant’s extracurricular involvements will be reviewed, and applicants who are team players with a professional demeanor are preferred. Flexibility, self-motivation, and an openness to learn are highly desired.

GUALA Expectations of Selected Alumni Leaders
The GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy will be a 12-month commitment of approximately 10 hours a month. GUALA Alumni Leaders will carry out the following responsibilities with the support of the GEAR UP community, NCCEP, and the Manager of the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy:

  1. Participate in DC Alumni Leadership Training. NCCEP will cover the costs for the training, which takes place June 12-18, 2016. This includes transportation to/from the District of Columbia, dormitory-style accommodations, and meals.
     
  2. Be Engaged. Alumni Leaders will keep regular contact with the Manager of the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy at least twice a month, as well as participate in on-going webinar trainings throughout the year. Alumni Leaders will meet deadlines and accomplish projects while communicating updates and needs to the Manager, who will provide on-going support. (All Year)
     
  3. Serve as a Motivational Speaker. Alumni Leaders will work with their corresponding GEAR UP Program as motivational speakers, serving existing students and parents, both in person and via social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc). Alumni Leaders will also play a vital role in sharing their young-adult perspective with college access professionals and students, and will work with their corresponding GEAR UP Program to identify appropriate speaking engagements. (All Year)
     
  4. Engage Peer GEAR UP Alumni. Alumni Leaders will encourage the greater GEAR UP alumni community to join a newly forming alumni network via Facebook. NCCEP staff will support the alumni network with resources and guidance. All GEAR UP alumni will be invited to participate in calls to action, often led by Alumni Leaders. (All Year)
     
  5. Connect with Members of Congress. Alumni Leaders can choose how they would like to connect with their lawmakers.
  • Participate in District Days. GUALA Alumni Leaders will participate in one activity during District Days by connecting with a GEAR UP program in their home state before returning to campus in the fall. NCCEP staff will organize District Days nationally to correspond with the Congressional recess when lawmakers are back at home in their Districts. (August); OR
     
  • Lead Congressional District Visits. GUALA Alumni Leaders will lead a delegation of local GEAR UP students and families, staff, and alumni in a visit with district Congressional staff during winter break and spring break. (December/January and March/April)
  1. Showcase GEAR UP Stories. Alumni Leaders can choose how they would like to share student experiences with the public.
  • Utilize the Power of Social Media for Advocacy. Alumni Leaders will produce content intended for policy makers/lawmakers by developing web stories, audio recordings, video recordings, printed materials, and photo collages. (All Year); OR
     
  • Blog about GEAR UP Experiences. Alumni Leaders will submit monthly blogs about their experience in the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy, which will serve as an opportunity to share their thoughts, efforts, and impact on their local, state, regional, and national GEAR UP communities. (All Year)
  1. Optional: Develop a Media Story. GEAR UP Alumni Leaders will be encouraged to submit at least one media story for print or broadcast during their 12-month commitment to expand the reach of GEAR UP and celebrate the life-impacting events and activities happening throughout GEAR UP programs across the nation. (Optional: All Year)
     
  2. Optional: Mentor future GEAR UP Alumni Leaders. Throughout the 12-month commitment, Alumni Leaders will have several opportunities to mentor peer GEAR UP alumni and current GEAR UP students. Towards the end of the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy experience, in May 2017, Alumni Leaders will have a full-circle opportunity to mentor and impart knowledge to an incoming GEAR UP Alumni Leader.

Expectations of GEAR UP Programs
GEAR UP Programs will have a variety of opportunities to play a vital role in this concerted advocacy and leadership development effort:

Before the Application: GUALA applicants are required to connect with their current or former GEAR UP Program to request a recommendation.

After the Application: Should one of your former GEAR UP Alums be chosen among the Class of 2017 (2016-2017), you will be asked to support them in the following ways:

  1. Be a resource for your GEAR UP Alumni Leader as he/she strives to successfully meet Academy Expectations.
     
  2. Connect and communicate with your GEAR UP Alumni Leader on a regular basis. GEAR UP Programs are encouraged to identify one current staff member to serve as the GUALA Coach (mentor or “sponsor”) to the GEAR UP Alumni Leader. The GUALA Coach will also connect with the Manager of GUALA (approximately once a month) to stay informed.
     
  3. Integrate Alumni Leader into GEAR UP activities. Assist in the coordination of District Days events, GEAR UP Week, and/or Congressional visits and other opportunities for the GEAR UP Alumni Leader to serve as advocate and engage communities as a motivational speaker.
     
  4. Fundraising assistance may be necessary for unanticipated minor expenses that arise. For example, transportation to District Days activities and costs for other activities associated with in-state advocacy efforts. NCCEP will fund the costs associated with the DC Leadership Training, including transportation, accommodations, and meals. Every effort has been made to pre-plan expenses to minimize outside costs.
     
  5. Encourage participation in the NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference. While this is not a requirement, NCCEP strongly encourages participating GEAR UP sites to send their GUALAs to the GEAR UP Annual Conference to receive professional development, participate in sessions, and contribute to the Youth Congress. Travel and registration to the GEAR UP Annual Conference is not covered by the GUALA program, therefore those expenses must be provided by the participating GEAR UP program.

Acknowledgements

The GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy (GUALA) has been and will continue to be a collective effort. NCCEP gratefully acknowledges the GEAR UP community and friends of GEAR UP who have assisted in the development of this new and exciting initiative. We look forward to your continued support and feedback as this pilot program evolves. Special thanks to The Kresge Foundation for their support of the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy program.

GEAR UP Program Locator

Are GEAR UP services available in your state or region? You can find out by clicking on this interactive map. Here you will find where GEAR UP programs currently serve students, the size of their grants, how many students they serve and a link to their website for more information.