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By Brent Lloyd, GEAR UP MSU Graduate Assistant

Being a first-generation college student means that neither student's parent graduated from a 4-year university. Being first-gen can be a challenge because the student often doesn't have parent(s) or others who have experience with what it takes to be successful in college. That is why MSU is dedicated to celebrating the achievements and accomplishments of our first-generation students. The week of November 7-11th, we will be partnering with TRIO Student Support Services in a number of celebrations and events including Snacks on the Mall, a First Generation Student Panel, and a First Generation Photography exhibition in the MSU Library as part of our efforts to honor and recognize our students who are blazing a new path for themselves in their pursuit of a college degree. We encourage all of our GEAR UP students, especially those who are first-generation, to join us in our celebrations! For more information about MSU's First Generation Student Recognition, visit

  • "Take the time to enjoy the fun things, it isn't all about class and homework" -Nathan (Sophomore)

  • "It's easier to stay caught up than it is to catch up atfer falling behind" -Ty (MSU Alumni)

  • "Participation isn't lame, and I would advise everyone to participate in everything they can" -Liberty (RA)

Movie Go Passes for GEAR UP students are now available in the GEAR UP office! Each pass is good for entry for one GEAR UP student and a friend to the Procrastinator Theater on campus for popcorn and a movie. Thank you to the Office of Student Engagement for providing the movie Go Passes.


Register for Spring 2023

October 24-November 9

It's a Piece of Cake!

Spring 2023 Priority Registration

Jessica Kehler

Jessica Kehler is a 2022 graduate of Hardin High School who is now attending MSU and studying nursing. While in high school Jessica was involved in student council, the ski club, and 4-H. She enjoyed college visits with GEAR UP and benefitted from the one-on one help she received from her high school GEAR UP Coordinator. Jessica was inspired to attend college because she sees it as an incredible opportunity to pursue her educational goals, find a career path, and make lifelong connections. While at MSU she has become involved in intramural volleyball and plans to become more involved in the campus ministry.

Jessica Kehler with Champ

Jessica Kehler: Hardin, MT

First Gen Day

First-Generation Student Panel

Wednesday, November 9th from 4-5 pm

As part of Montana State's efforts to recognize and support our first-generation students during National First Generation Student Recognition Day on November 9th, a panel of first-generation undergraduate and graduate students will be held in SUB Ballroom C from 4:00 - 5:00 pm. Come learn about the personal experiences of current first-generation students.

First Gen Day

First-Generation Day Snacks on the Mall

Wednesday, November 9th from 10:00 am- 1:00 pm

As a part of the first-generation day celebrations at MSU, GEAR UP and TRIO will be handing out donuts, coffee, and hot chocolate on the mall on Wednesday, November 9th from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. All students are welcome to come and get snacks and learn about the first-generation college student experience.

Letter W

Last Day to Withdraw from Courses

Thursday November 17th

Withdrawing from a course at this point in the semester may be necessary if a failing grade is imminent. A withdrawal appears as a W on your transcript rather than a D or an F; and doesn't factor into your GPA. A student who stops attending class without withdrawing from it will receive an F. Students should connect with their advisor for help navigating the withdrawal process. For more information visit

Cat Scholarships

Cat $cholarships Open

November 1st, 2022

On November 1st Cat $cholarships, MSU's Online Scholarship Application System, opens. Students will be able to use this one application to apply for hundreds of MSU scholarships to help pay for school! We encourage all students to apply for Cat$cholarships by the February 1st priority deadline at Visit the GEAR UP office for additional help and information.

FAFSA Workshop

On October 12th, staff members from MSU's Office of Financial Aid Services provided help to GEAR UP first-year students with their FAFSA renewals.

Wilhite, Josh and Mom
Welcome October Visitors!

Pictured at left is Thompson Falls High School senior Josh Wilhite and his mom Teresa, who visited on October 28th. 

Shadow Day
Pictured at left is Lame Deer High School senior Tesla Onebear, who attended Shadow Day with the College of Engineering on October 20th.
GEAR UP West Presentation

On October 24th, GEAR UP MSU's Director Judi Haskins, along with TRIO Director Julian Collins, attended the annual GEAR UP West Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. They presented on TRIO and GEAR UP services to over 450 attendees from GEAR UP programs around the nation.

Wednesday, November 9th 4:00 pm-5:00 pm Srand Union Building, Ballroom C

  • Tia Doney - Film Major with Business Certificate
  • Tiga Ward - Masters Student in Innovaton and Management
  • Melissa Ramirez - Politicial Science with Global Studies Minor
  • Patrick Anderson - PhD Candidate in Chemistry
  • Natilie Demarco - Geology Major

First Gen Panel Flyer


Welcome Montana FFA Students From GEAR UP High Schools

Gear UP MSU invites you to stop by during the MT FFA ag Expo Thursday, November 10th between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Located on the 2nd floor of the MSU Library

FFA students from GEAR UP schools who visit the GEAR UP MSU office will be entered for a chance to win prizes!

What is GEAR UP?

MSU's GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is dedicated to providing support and services to first-year students from Montana's GEAR UP schools.

What We Offer

  • New Student Orientation Funding
  • Backpack and School supplies
  • Free Textbooks and Laptop use
  • Acedemic Support
  • Free Tutoring
  • Registration for annual Parent Family Weekend
  •  & More!

FFA Welcome Poster