College & Career Readiness
Silicon Valley Education Foundation’s College Readiness initiatives are designed to increase the number of students who have the option to go to college by accelerating pathways and eliminating barriers. We achieve this by engaging with districts to adopt policies that open more opportunities for students, hosting motivational events that promote college-going mindsets, providing support and resources to individual students and families to on track for college, and by managing scholarships with private partners to support college-bound students.
VIRTUAL COLLEGE PANEL SERIES
To address students’ unanswered questions surrounding college admissions during COVID-19, the College Readiness team hosted the first virtual panel in which college and university leaders shared insights to over 200 community members. It was the first time UC, Cal State, private college and community college professionals had gathered to share their insights on the situation with the community. Admission directors from Foothill College, San José State University, UC Santa Cruz and Santa Clara University joined other higher education experts on April 22, 2020 to discuss how financial aid and college admissions were affected by COVID-19. Panelists agreed that students should be proactive and contact admissions directly with any questions. Most situations will be case-by-case, and everyone is working to provide the smoothest transition possible from high school to college for students.
Due to high demand, SVEF is putting together a follow-up series to bring more admission and financial aid professionals together to our community. Interested to join this series? Please register and leave us any college-related questions here.
SVEF is a strong advocate and supports school districts to make A-G Requirements the default high school coursework. This means that all high school students are set on track to complete an A-G sequence unless they opt out.
A-G Requirements are the high school courses that students must complete in order to be eligible for entrance into the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems. “A-G” refers to the seven subject areas that these courses fall under (see A-G Requirements below). By taking A-G courses, students open up the opportunity to qualify for higher education.
However, the high school coursework required by the state of California for graduation falls short of the A-G requirements, most notably in the areas of math, science, and foreign language. This can result in students who are on track to successfully graduate from high school but are unaware that they are not even eligible to apply to the UC or CSU systems until it is too late.
As of 2018, SVEF has helped 10 high school districts, including 6 of the 11 in Santa Clara County, adopt an A-G default curriculum. In 2018, roughly 73% of students in Santa Clara County attend schools with A-G default curriculums.
CATALYST TO COLLEGE
Catalyst to College engages, supports, and prepares high school students for college by creating a college-going culture at their high school campuses and a peer support system.
The 3.5 year, intensive program supports students from their sophomore year in high school through their first semester in college. Through small group and individual conferencing, students are empowered with leadership and skill development sessions and are supported with with tools resources needed to overcome their barriers to college.
Catalyst to College primarily serves first-generation college students, those who will be the first in their families to attend college. Students and families receive help in applying for financial aid as well as guidance in navigating the college application process. Through working with community and education partners, Catalyst to College connects students from underserved backgrounds with resources available in the community to inspire, motivate, and bolster their efforts in getting accepted to college.
ACHIEVING LATINX ACADEMIC SUCCESS CONFERENCE (ALAS)
The Achieving Latino Academic Success Conference (ALAS) is a biennial conference that has been empowering Latinx students and families with the knowledge, drive, and support to make college their goals since 2006. Santa Clara County students and their families are bused to the San Jose State University (SJSU) campus for a half day of inspirational speakers and workshops, offered in both English and Spanish.
In 2018, SVEF assumed responsibility to organize and manage ALAS in collaboration with SJSU and the Superintendents of Santa Clara County school districts.
ALAS 2019: College is My Future was held on March 23, 2019 and welcomed over 1500 students and family members from 25 school districts. We could not have put ALAS together without the generous support of our sponsors: Santa Clara County Office of Education (Presenting Sponsor), SJSU (Hosting Sponsor), Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley and BAE Systems (Bronze Sponsors)
College Day is a program that works with local schools and districts to promote a college-going culture among students. Since 2010, its mission has been to inspire and support students in pursuit of a college education, particularly those from lower income communities and who may be first-generation college attendees. College Day spans Santa Clara County and offers programming for elementary, middle, and high schools. In 2019, 180 schools participated in College Day, reaching over 100,000 students.
Schools are encouraged to carry out week-long college awareness and preparation activities in classrooms and through assemblies. Age-appropriate activities and lesson plans are offered through the College Day portal. Volunteer college students and community members are matched to classrooms to share their paths to college and discuss the importance of post-secondary education.
Continuing education past high school is important, and SVEF has several partners eager to support students along their pathways to 2 or 4 year colleges. SVEF proud to manage two scholarships for college-bound high school seniors: Goals for Education and the Meadows Neighborhood Scholarship.