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GEAR UP is a college access program. We share information on all things college: preparation, admissions, and financial aid, with a healthy dose of interesting historical tidbits, apropos quotes, news, and the occasional cute kitten.
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“My mother made me a scientist without ever intending to. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school, ‘So? Did you learn anything today?’ But not my mother. ‘Izzy,’ she would say, ‘did you ask a good question today?’

That difference – asking good questions – made me become a scientist.”

Isidor Isaac Rabi, Nobel laureate

As quoted in “Great Minds Start With Questions” in Parents Magazine (September 1993)

The secret of success is concentrating interest in life, interest in sports and good times, interest in your studies, interest in your fellow students, interest in the small things of nature, insects, birds, flowers, leaves, etc. In other words to be fully awake to everything about you & the more you learn the more you can appreciate & get a full measure of joy & happiness out of life.
A beautiful 1928 letter to teenage Jackson Pollock, who was born on this day in 1912, from his dad.  (via explore-blog)

(via explore-blog)



It’s well-established that women face social pressures that push them away from pursuing science as a life passion. It’s also well-established that women who do stay in science face discrimination all the way up the ladder. Women are 50 percent of the population but hold less than a quarter of STEM jobs.

Young ladies, HuffPo has your back. Check it out:

Dear Geek Girls,

We were there once — making a decision about which career path to choose can be a source of great anxiety, especially in tough economic times like these. But having someone on your side to coach you through, and give you practical advice without judgement can make all the difference in the world.

HuffPo Science is offering young ladies 14-21 the chance to be mentored by a female scientist, to show you the ropes and keep you motivated to achieve your goals. Applications are due Jan 31st, so apply here today!

Big round of applause to them for this effort.

Signal Boost. Seems like something really positive to share with your high school students. 

Yes! Super cool!

(via poptech)


“14 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent”.

For example:

Layogenic (Tagalog)
Remember in Clueless when Cher describes someone as “a full-on Monet… from far away, it’s OK, but up close it’s a big old mess”? That’s exactly what this word means.

via The Week


Giving Cognition a Bad Name

There is now emerging on a number of fronts—nicely summarized in Paul Tough’s most recent book, How Children Succeed—a belief that our nation’s educational focus on cognition has been misguided. Rather than focusing our energies on the academic curriculum, or on academic-intervention programs for the poor, we need to turn our attention to the development of qualities of character or personality, like perseverance, self-monitoring, and flexibility. As much as or more than the cognitive, the argument goes, these are the qualities that account for success in school and life.

The importance of traits like perseverance and flexibility is indisputable, but what concerns me is that the advocates for character education seem to accept without question the reductive notion of cognition that runs through our education policies, and by accepting it, further affirm it. The problem is exacerbated by the aforementioned way economists carve up and define mental activity. If cognition is represented by scores on ability or achievement tests, then anything not captured in those scores (like the desired qualities of character) is, de facto, noncognitive. We’re now left with a pinched notion of cognition and a reductive dichotomy to boot.

We’ve been really into this idea in our offices lately. Interesting stuff.

"This is why science teachers aren’t allowed to supervise recess."
Is it bad that I laughed pretty hard at this?

"This is why science teachers aren’t allowed to supervise recess."

Is it bad that I laughed pretty hard at this?


Minimum Payments on Credit Cards

Video description

What happens when someone makes just the minimum payment on a credit card balance.

Video transcript

Voice over: On the hottest day of the year, Marta’s air conditioner broke. Marta decided it was an emergency. So she went to the store to buy a new air conditioner. Marta didn’t have enough cash, so she used her credit card. The air conditioner cost $300. That evening, her family was cool and happy.

The next month, Marta got her credit card bill for the $300 air conditioner. Marta had it in her budget to pay $15 each month until she finished paying for the air conditioner. $15 was her minimum payment.

Then, every month, Marta sent the minimum payment. But Marta’s balance didn’t go down $15 each month. The credit card company added interest to her balance every month. The annual interest rate on Marta’s credit card was 23 percent. So the credit card company added interest to Marta’s balance every month.

It took Marta more than 2 years to pay for the air conditioner, because she paid only the minimum payment. At the end of 2 years, Marta had paid $382: $300 for the air conditioner and $82 in interest.

Video from the Federal Trade Commission

Interest accrues on student loans in much the same way. When you’re thinking about your financial aid options for next year, consider the interest you’ll eventually be paying in the total cost of any loans you choose to accept!


  1. Respects students
  2. Creates sense of belonging in classroom
  3. Warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring
  4. High expectations for all students
  5. Own love of learning
  6. Skilled leader
  7. Flexible
  8. Collaborative
  9. Professional

Sound right to you?

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Think of financial aid as a big pie. The earlier you get to the table, the bigger your slice of the pie. Most colleges have an early to mid-February deadline, but the sooner you get your FAFSA done, the better.

Need some help figuring out how to get it done? Behold. Resources.