A special partnership between Oklahoma City Public Schools and the University of Oklahoma gives students in middle and high schools a chance to see what college is really like.
"We want kids to know that college looks different than high school does, and they don't really know that until they see it," said Laura Buxton, Gear Up Project Coordinator For OKCPS.
If seeing is believing, a group of John Marshall High School students are getting an eyeful of college life.
They're touring everything from cafeterias to classrooms, hoping to get a clearer idea if a place like Oklahoma City Community College will be a fit.
"Really don't know, I want to stay close to home for my mom," said sophomore Sydney O'Guinn.
She was excited to give the OCCC campus a test run.
"It's pretty cool because it gives you a chance to get out of school and then gives you a college experience, I like that," said sophomore Cleatis Davis.
One by one, each student packed the auditorium at OCCC for a “college-prep” rally.
It's for Gear Up, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. It helps prepare more than 4,000 students for higher education.
"What we want them to know is that there's just not one way to go to college, there's not just one type of program," Buxton said.
"The great thing about OCCC is that they work with students really well to transition to a 4-year university."
The students are split into groups to see for themselves.
"I think it's very important for them to do this because it gives us a new shine on how we think college is going to work for us," said sophomore Jay Patton.
For Ciera Butler, the choice of college is motivated by her parents.
"Both of them dropped out before completing, so we want to try to break the cycle, they're the first ones to not graduate,” Butler said.
She has a brother already attending OCCC, so each campus visit helps Butler better where she'll go.
"A lot of people see it as way out, but for me, I see it as a way to grow," Butler said.
This isn't the only way to become successful, but it is a really great option, and I'm really excited to be able to progress and take advantage of it.”
Find out more about the Gear Up Program