• Geared Up For Success  |  Frequently Asked Questions

  • When should I begin thinking about career and education choices?
    It’s never too early to begin exploring career options. Most students choose an education track upon entering high school. Considering whether a two or four year college is in your future plays a role in this choice. Please visit the 'Local Career Counselors' page or 'Education Opportunities' page on this website to find helpful information.

    How can I start saving now for college?
    Learn about special college savings programs: You have many options when it comes to saving for college; see this side-by-side comparison chart of savings options which will help you understand which is best for you (or your children).

    How can I find out about internships?

    Where can I go for career information?
    Guidance counselors at middle schools and high schools can share information about career and education opportunities. Most high schools offer internships that are very helpful in learning about different jobs and careers. Talking to a person in a career of interest is also a great way to gain information. This could be a family member, friend, neighbor, etc. Please visit the 'Jobs of the Future' page on this website to find helpful information.

    What factors should I consider when choosing a career?
    Education/training needed
    Personal qualifications & skills
    Earning potential
    Working conditions
    Future career growth

    I am a young person, if I volunteer in Rowan County, will this help my chances of receiving grants or scholarships?
    You can call The Rowan County United Way and other nonprofit organizations listed in the Chamber's business directory at www.rowanchamber.com to see how you can get involved with your community. There are thousands of students that have recognized that 'giving back' to their community helps their abilities to receive education aid. You can also nominate yourself for the Rowan County 'Service Above Self' award.

    Why should I obtain certifications or degrees with secondary education?

    Please review this chart to see how education helps your salary potential. You can also visit the 'Local Career Counselors' page or 'Education Opportunities' page on this website to find helpful information.

    Most significant source of education or training

    Median US annual wage

    Total, all occupations

    $ 32,390

    First professional degree


    Doctoral degree


    Master's degree


    Bachelor's degree


    Associate degree


    Postsecondary vocational award


    Source: Employment Projections Program, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008

    What is Financial Aid?
    Financial aid helps students meet their college expenses in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study programs and loans.

    How can I learn more about Financial Aid?
    Contact your high school guidance office or the Financial Aid Office at the college (s) of your choice. Investigate local scholarships offered through employers, churches, civic clubs, etc. You can visit the 'Scholarship and Grants' page on this website to find a listing of helpful links.

    If my family does not qualify for financial aid what should I do?
    Complete the FASFA. This is necessary for any grants, loans or financial aid of any kind. There are deadlines to keep in mind. For more information go to: www.fafsa.ed.gov/. You can visit the ' Scholarship and Grants' page on this website to find a listing of helpful links.

    What is the difference between SAT & ACT and how can I find out more information on each test?
    SAT is optional- Math, Reading and Writing
    ACT- Math, English, Science and Social Studies
    Most colleges accept ACT or SAT- www.satcollegeboard.org
    Career Readiness Certificate - www.act.org

    What is the difference between grants, scholarships and loans?
    Grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid. A student must apply for these forms of aid. Scholarships can be based on financial need or academic merit. Loans must be repaid. There are many low interest education loan programs available.

    What is the standard age for 'adult' terms in this website?
    Most education institutions consider you an adult at age 18.

    I have been in the workforce and need to see if I have pre-college credits.
    Get college credit for training you've already completed: The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service helps you gain access to academic credit for courses or exams, such as job-related training, you've already taken outside of a degree program.

    How can I skip courses that are required in college?
    You can 'Test out' of subjects you already know: No class time is required. Take a College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) test at Pfeiffer College for under $100 and if you achieve the minimum score required by your college, you could earn credit and save the cost of taking the course. Plus, many colleges and universities offer their own tests that let you skip certain classes or earn credits if you pass.

    What is the definition of a graduate school?
    A Graduate School is a school that awards advanced academic degrees (i.e. master's degrees and Ph.D. degrees) with the general requirement that students must have earned a previous undergraduate (bachelor's) degree.

    I am in school, what should I do first to get ready for college?
    During the 9th Grade
    · Investigate scholarships early- go to www.fastweb.com

    During your Junior Year
    · Take the PSAT or ACT- go to www.act.org
    · Get involved in Clubs or Organizations
    · Keep your grades up
    · Attend classes regularly
    · Search for Scholarship opportunities on www.Gearedupforsuccess.com
    · Meet with your school Career Development Counselor
    · Visit Colleges & Universities

     During your Senior Year
    · Take the SAT or ACT, go to www.collegeboard.com/testing
    · Stay involved in clubs and organizations
    · Keep your grades up
    · Attend classes regularly
    · Continue searching for Scholarship opportunities on www.Gearedupforsuccess.com  and apply for them during your first semester
    · Meet with your school Career Development Counselor
    · Visit Colleges & Universities
    · Submit your Free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) after January 1 online
    · Submit College & University applications
    · Complete the school affordability free analyzer with www.thesalliemaefund.org