College Application and Exploration Season (CAES)

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College Application and Exploration Season (CAES) is an initiative of Hawai‘i P-20’s GEAR UP Hawai‘i program designed to assist high school students with college application and exploration. CAES is based on the “College Application Week” program started by GEAR UP North Carolina in 2005 which expanded to 24 states and the District of Columbia in 2012. The goal of CAES is to encourage high school seniors, particularly prospective first-generation college students from low-income families, to apply to at least one college before they graduate from high school, giving every student the option to go to college.

Local college volunteers from UH Mānoa, KCC, and Honolulu CC assist during Farrington's CAES event

Local college volunteers from UH Mānoa, KCC, and Honolulu CC assist during Farrington’s 2013 CAES event

Farrington High School seniors fill out applications to UH Manoa during 2013 CAES event.

Farrington High School seniors fill out applications to UH Mānoa during 2013 CAES event.

During CAES application events, local volunteers, staff, and personnel from the University of Hawai‘i campuses and other Hawai‘i colleges will work with over ten high schools statewide during the next few months to plan activities that encourage their seniors to complete a college application. Among the schools participating this year include: Castle High School, Farrington High School, Kahuku High School, Kailua High School, Ke Kula ‘o Ehunuikaimalino, Kohala High School, Konawaena High School, McKinley High School, Waialua Intermediate and High School, and Wai‘anae High School. Each school coordinates its own application event with the goal of every senior completing and submitting at least one college application. In addition, some schools are planning pre- and post-application activities that target younger students to get them thinking about college early and start them on track toward the college application process.

To see pictures from 2013 CAES events, please click here.

For more information on dates and times for CAES events, please contact Nicole Atwood at

Special packets were also sent to over 10,000 Step Up Scholars in the Classes of 2014, and 2015 to provide them with resources and information on preparing and applying for college and financial aid.

Below is a sample of some of the materials included in the packet:

A video tutorial was also created to assist students in filling out the UH System admission application.

Click here to watch.