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GEAR UP NC is a federally funded program from the U.S. Department of Education (P334S120003, P334S190002). The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) project aims to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. GEAR UP NC is operated by the University of North Carolina System Office.

The GEAR UP NC Virtual Reality (VR) app is intended to help first-generation students gain early awareness of college options in North Carolina. The app is also intended to motivate students to think of college as an option and begin taking steps to plan, apply, and pay for college.

The project began as a pilot with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Visitor Center's First Look program. GEAR UP NC VR now includes virtual tours of all 16 4-year public institutions in the state. All community colleges will be added by the end of 2021, with the potential to add private colleges and universities at a later date.

How To Use A Cardboard Headset

  1. To start, download GEAR UP VR from the App Store.
  2. Set aside your phone. Slide the cardboard headset out of the cover and set it aside.
  3. Pull open the cardboard from the top, and set aside the headphones.
  4. Open the flaps and fold them over the top and velcro the sides.
  5. Pull the plastic off the eyepieces.
  6. On the GEAR UP VR app, press play on any of the 360 videos and then press pause.
  7. On the bottom right of the video player, press the icon of the person with the headset to start cardboard mode.
  8. Place the phone within the flap of the cardboard. Plug in your headphones.
  9. Press play. Fold the cardboard flap up and velcro at the top and enjoy!

If you don't have a cardboard headset, no worries! You can press play on the video and move your phone around to enjoy the content.

App Instructions

  1. When you first install the app, select whether you are a “Student”, “Teacher”, “Parent”, or “Other”. Student, teachers and parents will select the high school they are affiliated with by typing the name of the school in the search box.
  2. Opening screen takes you to the GEAR UP home page, which has:
    • Introductory 360-degree video.
    • Majors and Degrees: 360-degree video with general information about majors and degrees. #HowtocollegeNC: 360-degree video with general information about colleges in North Carolina.
    • Campus Life: 360-degree video with general information about campus life. NC Colleges: This takes you to the list of college and universities across North Carolina
  3. Visit any NC College or University. Each campus has:
    • 360-degree video with an overview about the college and student life.
    • About: Links to the college's website, application, financial aid information, and degrees and majors information.
    • Connect: Social media links for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
    • Contact: Opens up your mail app, so you can email admissions, which will be provided for you when you select contact. Some institutions have artificially intelligent chat bots to answer university questions 24/7.
  4. Accessibility: Use this tab to view the VR videos on YouTube with closed captioning.

YouTube Playlist

All of the videos can be watched here on your computer. Closed captioning is enabled for all of these videos.