Pixel Tracker

Monday, March 25 , 2019, 5:09 am | Fair 47º


Achieve UC Visits Santa Paula High School to Encourage Students to Pursue Higher Ed

It’s still early in the game but Leslie Magaña knows what she wants to do.

“I want to teach,” the Santa Paula High School freshman said. “I love being around little kids.”

However, like many kids in her age group who may have the desire and brain power, she wasn’t clear on how to get to her goal. Sometimes it’s the money. Sometimes it’s the motivation. Sometimes it’s the seemingly Byzantine application process.

Whatever the obstacle, representatives from UC Santa Barbara and the University of California were on hand to make sure that students at Santa Paula High School knew that they could overcome it and get a world-class education. The outreach effort on Monday was part of Achieve UC, a program that encourages high school students — particularly those who may not see themselves as college graduates — to pursue a University of California education.

“At your age I was not that much different from you,” said Laura Romo, UCSB director of the Chicano Studies Institute. Like many of the students in the Santa Paula High auditorium she was speaking to, she came from a lower-income Hispanic neighborhood, was a child of immigrants and had the talent and brains to go to college, but not necessarily the encouragement or the clear direction. However, the fact that she was able to go to college and accomplish her goal inspired her audience, perhaps enough into seriously considering getting their university education.

Now in its third year, Achieve UC continues to target high schools with populations for whom a college education is not an obvious choice. The effort has resulted in a 30 percent increase in applications to the 10-campus system from these schools.

To assist the potential future UCSB students, various speakers made presentations covering topics such as admissions and financial aid. Others also made it a point to assure the kids that they would not be alone — up to 40 percent of UC freshmen are the first in their families to get a university education, and programs exist to ease these pioneers’ transition into college. Breakout sessions were held to outline what students could and should start doing and thinking about to increase their chances of getting in.

For those who worry most about the money, there is the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which pays for student’s entire tuition if their family income is less that $80,000 a year.

Whatever the students’ background, the message was the same: Know what you want, be ready to work hard and UC will do its best to get you to your goal.

“My foremost advice is this: Do not ever assume your intellectual abilities are somehow fixed,” said Carl Gutiérrez-Jones, UCSB acting dean of undergraduate studies and professor of English. “Reach deep for that part of yourself that can struggle on, that can be resilient.”

— Sonia Fernandez represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

Support Noozhawk Today!

Our professional journalists work tirelessly to report on local news so you can be more informed and engaged in your community. This quality, local reporting is free for you to read and share, but it's not free to produce.

You count on us to deliver timely, relevant local news, 24/7. Can we count on you to invest in our newsroom and help secure its future?

We provide special member benefits to show how much we appreciate your support.

I would like give...
Great! You're joining as a Red-Tailed Hawk!
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.