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Center for P-16 Initiatives teaches college-going culture

Texas State University sign
Star File Photo.

Texas State will host a summer boot-camp program dedicated to college access and success, and it is open to all incoming high school juniors and seniors.

The College Access Program (CAP) is a project organized by the Center for P-16 Initiatives, whose work is dedicated to educational development of children from early childhood to high school graduation.

Dr. Rosina Ruiz Valle, program specialist and coordinator for CAP Camp, said she looks forward to this interactive program tailored to help students connect the dots between interests and careers while exploring degree options.

“Our camp attendees will spend four days on campus and will experience activities to help them prepare for the college application process, including essay writing, financial aid and scholarship literacy, in addition to an in-depth review of the college application process,” Valle said.

The program started in 2009 as one of the center’s many initiatives which seeks to ease the college admissions process for students.

Although the program works on a “first-come, first-served” basis, Dr. Michelle Hamilton, director of the center, said the program is targeted for low-income, first-generation students.

“When we get up to the college access part of their journey, there are students who are first-generation students whose parents haven’t gone to college and no one really talks to them about going to college,” Hamilton said. “We try to demystify the whole college process for them.”

However, the program covers more than just applications. Students are made aware of what the academic expectations for them will be once they apply to colleges.

“During those last couple of years of school, it can really impact whether or not they get into college,” Hamilton said. “We also talk to them about the importance of SAT/ACT preparation and how all that plays into getting into college.”

In addition to being taken on campus tours, CAP also informs students about financial aid, housing and college life in general. Camp attendees will engage with undergraduates, who will work with and guide the high school students through activities and workshops.

Isaac Torres, grant specialist at the center, said this opportunity allows students a mini-experience, giving them an idea of the support and resources available at Texas State and other institutions.

“Preparation and readiness are fundamental to getting these students into college and through college,” Torres said. “There are students that often don’t go back to college after a semester or year because they didn’t pass their classes and they incur some debt, which leaves them feeling discouraged. This program helps makes them feel part of a community.”

While the Center for P-16 is partnered with San Marcos CISD on this initiative and other projects, Torres said the program is open to students across Central Texas.

The program will run June 20-23 and is free of charge. Space is open for a total of 35 students to first sign up.