Building Connections for Success Visits Local High School Students

December 6, 2011

Paving a pathway for student success in college begins in developing a positive perception of higher education among high school students.

Many high school students do not continue their education beyond graduation. Some are not aware of the importance of post-secondary education to their career options. Others believe the cost of college tuition is financially impossible to afford. There are also those who allow their fears and unanswered questions to prevent them from embarking on a college experience and do not apply altogether.

Building Connections for Success’ High School Outreach Program worked with a local high school predominantly serving a Latino student population this past spring to alleviate fears and dispel misconceptions among junior level students.  Five Outreach Ambassadors prepared and conducted 14 presentations to junior and senior high school students at San Fernando High School on the value of higher education and the many opportunities by obtaining a bachelors degree. The Outreach Ambassadors reached out to 356 high school students and maintained the connections after the sessions via email encouraging them to take the next step in applying to college.

“In our presentations we tried to not only teach the students about the monetary benefits in pursuing higher education, but how it correlates to healthcare access and lower crime rates in the community,” said High School Outreach coordinator Adriana Garcia Marin.

The Outreach Ambassadors also delivered a presentation to middle school and high school students at MEChA de CSUN’s 13th Annual Raza Youth Conference Event in April. The ambassadors showed slides on salary comparisons and shared personal stories on how they have overcome the challenges of a first generation college student.

“What I liked is that both the students and the parents were interested in our presentation and actively participated in the discussion,” said Outreach Ambassador Isaura Cordova. “I really felt like what I was saying was valuable to them and made an impact on their views of higher education.”

Changing perceptions about college among the youth in the community is a process that Garcia says is a fulfilling experience. “To see the students come to that reality check and to be the reason behind the thought of considering college is special,” said Garcia. Today’s students need to be excited about going to college and I hope the questions we answered became that turning point for them to apply.”

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