College-readiness program, StepUp Utah Scholars, makes changes for the 2017-18 school year

Launched in the 2006-07 school year, the Utah Scholars Initiative is a college-readiness program that helps students understand why college is so important and what they can do in junior high and high school to prepare for college, pay for college, and succeed in college and the workforce. When the program first began, volunteers visited 8th grade classrooms to share a presentation that encouraged students to prepare for their future by taking the Utah Scholars curriculum throughout all four years of high school. The curriculum included taking 4 years of math, 4 years of English, 3.5 years of social science, 3 years of lab-based science, and 2 years of a world language. This curriculum was later adopted by the Regents’ Scholarship in 2008.

Over the past couple of years, the program received feedback from students, parents, and counselors. These groups wanted a program that would help them make sure they were doing the right things to prepare students for college. Taking that into consideration, the Utah Scholars Initiative incorporated a college-ready checklist into the program.

The updated program is designed to motivate students to complete specific tasks from 8th-12th grade. These tasks include things like taking a campus tour, applying for scholarships and filing the FAFSA. To qualify for the program recognition certificate and medallion, students must complete 20 tasks from these checklists and maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA throughout high school. Along with changes to the requirements, there was also a name change. Starting this school year, the program will now be called StepUp Utah Scholars to further align the initiative with the outreach efforts of the broader StepUp to Higher Education campaign.

If you would like to volunteer to give the 8th grade StepUp Utah Scholars presentation or want to bring the program to your school, please contact Erika Norton at

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