Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Expanding the College Access Program (CAP)

In November 2011, SMART was proud to expand upon the services offered to our high school Scholars with the addition of monthly CAP workshops. Based on information collected from SMART Scholars who completed middle school programming, SMART is expanding services to ensure that our 9th-12th grade scholars are on track to enroll in 4-year post-secondary institutions.

This academic year, CAP takes place the first week of each month for all freshman through juniors. Students have reviewed college eligibility requirements, the financial benefits of completing a college degree (or higher), and compared different salary trajectories for various levels of educational attainment. In February, our Scholars will be exploring different career options. Ana Maria, SMART's new Program Manager, is working individually with current seniors to assist them with college and financial aid applications, locating scholarships and perfecting essays.

A current junior in the program stated:
"I am very very VERY grateful for the SMART CAP. Before the SMART CAP started, I was very stressed out on how to prepare for college and this program has really helped me figure out which path I should take and make me feel less overwhelmed with all this. Thank you very much for establishing this program...!"

Beginning in the 2012-2013 academic year, CAP will launch two distinct programs (one for 9th & 10th graders, and one for 11th & 12th graders) with the first focusing on exploration, academic counseling and skill preparation, and the latter focusing on specific elements of the college application process, ensuring that every student who comes through the SMART CAP will have the skills, resources and knowledge to best prepare themselves to attend the college of their choice.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Student Profile: Mei Deng

Mei Deng is a junior at Galileo High School. She entered SMART in 2005 and was admitted to Katherine Delmar Burke School for her 6th grade year. Today, Mei remains active in SMART through the College Access Program.

Mei has attended all three of the monthly CAP workshops this academic year, and is planning to participate in the SAT/ACT prep class being offered at SMART through the Princeton Review. Mei stated, “the most informative aspect of CAP was the session we had recently this month, regarding the SAT/ACT grading, GPA calculation, and especially the eligibility index stuff. That REALLY helped me determine what I needed to know for my upcoming months as a junior.”

About to begin the college application process, Mei admits that she is both nervous and excited. She hopes to attend UC Berkeley, UCLA or UC Davis, and would be open to out-of-state schools if she can find the funding. In the meantime, Mei will continue to attend monthly workshops at SMART, working on scholarships, personal statements and researching schools and careers. As a senior next year, she will be coming to SMART weekly to select and apply to college. As Mei stated to Ana Maria, SMART’s CAP Program Manager , “I am very thankful for all the enthusiasm and effort you put into the SMART CAP. We need more people like you as high school counselors!”