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Gear Up


Helping Students Succeed

NJ GEAR UP Mentoring is integral in building the capacity within students for long-term success. Mentors serve as models of the successful college experience and play an important role in enhancing a student’s educational expectations, and interpersonal development. Mentors conduct activities with students that emphasize a college–going culture and encourage students to become more proactive in their academic development.

Who can become a mentor?

To become a NJ GEAR UP mentor you must be enrolled in college and doing well academically. Candidates must complete a mentor application and a state background check. If you are a responsible person committed to helping youngsters pursue higher education, and you are in good academic standing, we welcome your application.

Time Commitment and Locations

Mentors can work from one of the partner college campus sites in Atlantic City/Pleasantville, Jersey City, Newark, Camden, Paterson or Penns Grove Carneys Point. The dates, times, and hours that a mentor works vary depending on the needs of the program and the mentor's schedule. Mentors should plan to work at least five hours a week.

By becoming a GEAR UP mentor, you help GEAR UP students improve their academic performance and build self-esteem. You can gain satisfaction and fulfillment by helping youth who need your support and guidance. You will also add valuable experience to your resume and earn an hourly wage.

A GEAR UP mentor is trusted advisor, guide, good listener, responsive and reliable adult who:

  1. Can help GEAR UP students stay in school and prepare for college.
  2. Help build a GEAR UP student’s motivation and confidence.
  3. Understands the challenges of being an adolescent and the value of sharing their experiences.
  4. Is a positive role model.
  5. Can share their high school and college experiences with GEAR UP students.
  6. Can help a GEAR UP student set goals for his/her future.
  7. Understands the greatest satisfaction gained from being a mentor is knowing they have changed the lives of students for the better!

To find out more about becoming a NJ GEAR UP mentor contact:

Yasmin Robinson, GEAR UP Program Specialist,
by phone at 609-292-6190 or
by e-mail at

What is NJ GEAR UP?

NJ GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) offers educational support and assistance to middle and high school students to help them prepare for and enroll in a college or university.

What’s a GEAR UP mentor?

A GEAR UP mentor is a supportive adult who agrees to assist a young person to help him or her make the right decisions so that they can achieve their academic, personal and career goals.

What does a NJ GEAR UP mentor do?

A NJ GEAR UP mentor shares his/her college experience to show the importance of staying in school and going to college. They participate in program activities such as, one-on-one mentoring, group mentoring, after-school tutoring, Saturday classes, and field trips to colleges.

Who can become a NJ GEAR UP mentor?

Full- or part-time undergraduate and graduate students can be mentors. Professionals can also be mentors.

What do mentors get from the relationship?

Mentors can gain satisfaction and fulfillment knowing that they are making a difference in the lives of GEAR UP students. In addition, mentors are paid an hourly wage by the program site.

How often do NJ GEAR UP mentors and NJ GEAR UP students meet?

Mentors and students meet for about five hours a week either in-person or virtually. This time is flexible. You can work with the Program Director at your site to establish appropriate hours.

How long am I required to stay with the program?

Mentors are asked to make an initial six-month commitment.

Are the activities supervised or unsupervised?

All activities are supervised by program site staff.

How old are GEAR UP students?

GEAR UP students are 12-18 years old.

What is the process I must go through to become a mentor?

Mentors must complete an application, interview, and a criminal background check. If your application is accepted, a program site staff member at the desired work site location will contact you for an interview. There are also mandatory training workshops that mentors are required to attend. All trainings are primarily conducted by the program site.

Where will mentoring activities be held?

Mentors work primarily at the college campus where they were hired. Programs are located at New Jersey City University (GEAR UP/College Bound program), New Jersey Institute of Technology (The Consortium for Pre-College Education in Newark), Rowan University (C.H.A.M.P./GEAR UP Program, Passaic County Community College (SMT/GEAR UP Program), Stockton University (GOALS GEAR UP Program) and Salem Community College (SCC GEAR UP for Success)

Where are the students enrolled in school?

Students attend target schools in Atlantic City/Pleasantville, Camden, Jersey City, Newark, Paterson, Penns Grove Carneys Point.

For an application, please contact, NJ GEAR UP Program Specialist Yasmin Robinson, by e-mail at or for an online or hardcopy application.

Last Updated: Tuesday, 10/18/22