A pilot project to encourage high school seniors to pursue more college options appears to be paying off with a jump in applications to California State University and University of California campuses.
New data from the district's Office of Equity and Access shows that for this school year, 578 eligible Fresno Unified seniors applied to both CSU and UC campuses corresponding to their academic profile. This compares to 382 eligible seniors applying in 2015-16.
The increase follows the launch of the I am Ready College Packets initiative last fall, prior to the application deadlines for CSU and UC. The customized packets were sent to 4,135 seniors, detailing California public college options that matched each student's academic profile.
"We are extremely pleased with the increase in our students who applied to CSU and UC given that they met the eligibility requirements for both. The I am Ready College Packets are proving to be an additional tool to help our students turn their college dreams into reality," said Jorge Aguilar, associate superintendent for equity and access.
The district initiated the I am Ready College Packets based on the premise that many students and parents are not aware of all the colleges' students are eligible for based on their academic profile.
Data from the Office of Equity and Access indicates that while more students are eligible for college, they are not pursuing all their options. In fact, 85% of Fresno Unified students applied to college last year, but less than half of eligible students applied to colleges that corresponded with their academic profiles.
The packets contained a matrix of California public universities and colleges that matched the student's academic profile and recommendations on next steps to take.
A letter was sent to their parents, as well, encouraging them to support their student in pursuing all college options. The letters were translated in English, Spanish and Hmong. Students and their families were encouraged to explore all options and meet with the student's academic counselor.
The packet also contained information on CSU/UC admission requirements, private colleges and universities, scholarships, Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) and the California Dream Act.