Metro State has implemented a recommendation by the Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Taskforce to expand the Excel Program, which was established in 1986 to improve the College’s enrollment and retention process.
The expansion will help create a pipeline of diverse high school students to Metro State by building long-term relationships and transforming from an admissions and outreach program to a pre-collegiate development program.
“The task force recommended two high schools, but we added more outreach counselors to expand to more high schools,” says Elena Sandoval-Lucero, director of admissions and outreach.
Excel counselors will offer pre-college preparation, activities and counseling to students in grades 9-12 and their parents to help them develop a college-going expectation, and to prepare to enter and be successful in college. Most services and programs will be delivered on site. The program will also bring groups of students to campus for visit days, tours and events so that they have access to a college campus, and can begin to envision attending college.
Two bilingual counselors have been hired for the program, and will be assigned at least four high schools each starting January 2010. Metro State alumni Arturo Rodriguez, Jr. and Cynthia Garcia are eager to work with their alma mater and high school students.
“I’m excited to work with students again at Metro and the Auraria Campus,” says Rodriguez, who graduated in 1995 with a degree in political science and a minor in Chicana/o studies. His career has included work with community organizations and youth groups.
“I had a unique and successful experience here,” adds Rodriguez, who served as president of the MEChA (Mexicano Estudiantl Chicano de Aztlan) student organization during his junior year and also played on the College’s tennis team. “I hope to pass on to students that they can develop a dream and goal that includes higher education and accomplish it. We’re here to help them with the steps.”
Cynthia Garcia, a 2008 graduate with a degree in health care management and a minor in Chicana/o studies honed her skills in the Admissions Office for three years as a work-study student. She also spent four years as an Excel Student Ambassador. Her experience will prove to be invaluable in this role says Sandoval-Lucero. “She knows the admissions process well.”
Through Garcia’s experiences, she says she has witnessed the obstacles some students and parents face. “There are barriers, including language, but you can find a way around it to continue education. I let them know if there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Rodriguez and Garcia will assist high school students and parents with the financial aid process, Metro State application, admissions counseling, next steps after being accepted and College support services. In addition, the two will assist high school counselors by giving presentations to students and parents regarding higher education information and options available to students.
This fall, they are setting up presentation meetings with various high schools to inform them of the new program. The program will be co-coordinated by Associate Director of Admissions Cynthia Nunez and Senior Admissions Counselor Michelle Pacheco.
HACU National Internship Opportunities
In other HSI-related news, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities National Internship Program (HNIP) will visit campus on Friday, Sept. 25, from noon to 1 p.m. in TIV 542 to talk to students about paid internship opportunities in Washington, D.C. and around the country. The internships offer airfare, housing arrangements and a weekly stipend of $450 to $550. All majors are welcome to apply at http://www.hacu.net/.
Following the student presentation, HACU staff will talk to staff and faculty interested in learning more about the internship program.
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