While UC Davis seniors are gearing up to delve into the real world, it’s also that stressful time of year when high school students are getting ready for the much-anticipated college experience. Before this independent lifestyle, however, students need to actually get into college.
UC Davis offers multiple programs and student services which prepare middle and high school students for post-secondary school. Programs including Educational Talent Search (ETS), the Student Recruitment and Retention Center (SRRC) and the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) provide these students with help for getting into colleges, as well as services to help them after they are accepted.
Founded in 1994, ETS is a federally funded program that helps about 1,700 students from 12 different high schools in Yolo, Sacramento and Solano counties. Sam Blanco, director of ETS, said that their program does not recruit students for UC Davis. Instead, it helps students throughout their high school and college academic careers, following them from their first year of high school until they graduate from college.
“We work with [high school] students throughout their years in high school and get them prepared for college,” Blanco said. “We help them graduate and continue to any type of higher education, whether it be community college, state, UC, private [or] out-of-state. We do workshops, presentations and work with them one-on-one.”
Blanco said that seven ETS staff members visit the high schools on a weekly basis, helping their students with “A through G” information (the requirements all California high school students must fulfill), such as time management, study skills, note-taking skills and advising. He said that high school seniors are given the most one-on-one time with their advisors.
“Our advisors make sure that they work with all their seniors on their college application, personal statements, scholarships [and] financial aid,” Blanco said.
ETS also contracts out to San Francisco-based Study Smart Tutors to offer students workshops on strategies for taking the SAT and ACT tests. Students in the ETS program can attend these workshops, which are held at UC Davis or the Davis high schools.
For further entrance exams help, EAOP also offers services designed to prepare students’ test-taking skills, according to the EAOP website. Designed for eighth to 12th grade students, the service teaches students how to take the exams, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and the importance of the tests. EAOP helps students with administrative preparations, such as registration and payment, as well as test preparation, including test-taking strategies, tips, test format and practice tests.
EAOP was founded in 1976 to help students meet requirements for college admission. With each UC school housing the program, EAOP is the University of California’s premier outreach program, according to the EAOP website. The UC Davis EAOP works with over 2,300 students in 28 schools.
“We outreach to high school and middle school students at underserved, under-resourced and underfunded schools surrounding [Davis], including Sacramento,” said Mai Moua Vang, a third-year community and regional development major and EAOP student outreach assistant. “We give them tools, guidelines and the extra support to help them get into college.”
While EAOP holds campus tours for students that visit the UC Davis campus, they also visit their middle and high schools weekly to hold workshops.
“The last workshop we held was called the ‘Game of Life’ [where] we placed students in the situation of an adult,” Vang said. “They had to make their own budget in terms of the career [they were] given, if they’re married or not or if they have children. [It] put them in their parents’ shoes and figure out how tough it is to be an adult.”
Vang said that these workshops help students develop life and decision-making skills. EAOP also offers Individual Academic Planning, where the staff talks to students one-on-one, looks over their transcripts and asks them how they are doing outside of school. EAOP helps students plan their schedules to make sure they take all required classes and meet college requirements.
The SRRC’s student-run programs also outreach to high schools and help students prepare for college. In the fall, SRRC hosts Apply Yourself, where they help high school seniors apply to colleges. In the spring, SRRC holds Senior Weekend Trip, where students admitted to UC Davis spend the weekend learning about UC Davis and spend nights in dorms or apartments with current students. This Spring Quarter, SRRC’s BRIDGE will also hold its first appeal process workshop for students who didn’t get into the UC they wanted.
“Speaking on behalf of the entire SRRC, our efforts are definitely to bring underrepresented and underserved communities into higher education,” said Kristian Marie Ocampo, a fourth-year communication and sociology — organizational studies double major and SRRC internal chair. “So we do various workshops that are academic, social justice or culture.”
Ocampo said that the SRRC holds College 101 workshops, in which high school students are educated about different forms of higher education and how to get into them.
“We look at students from a holistic perspective,” Ocampo said. “So we don’t look at just their grades and test scores. We look at their personal experiences. Being in California or out of state, [we look at] how they’ve experienced life so far and how that can benefit the kind of higher education they’re applying to.”
Other programs that help high school students are also available on campus. The Global Achievement Program offers international students with services such as academic and entrance exams preparation, advising and support. Also available is the UC Davis Young Scholars Program, a summer research program that introduces about 40 high school students to the world of research in the natural sciences.
While SRRC outreaches to the community, ETS and EAOP is a program students need to apply for. Everything, including application, is free, but students have to meet low-income requirements and must be economically disadvantaged. Students applying for ETS must also have higher than a 2.0 GPA.
For more information, visit ets.ucdavis.edu for ETS, eaop.ucdavis.edu for EAOP and thecenter.ucdavis.edu for SRRC.
“At every one of our huge events, we always do evaluations [afterward],” Ocampo said. “The evaluations we get from students are always positive, very validating. We’ve had a lot of good responses.”
JOYCE BERTHELSEN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.