The University of California, San Francisco co-sponsored a day-long program “I’m Going to College” for more than 125 students and their parents from the E.R. Taylor Elementary School on Wednesday, November 13.
The UCSF Center for Science Education and Outreach joined forces with the UCSF Office of Financial Aid and Chela Financial, a non-for-profit education company, in planning the event. UCSF is the first graduate campus to participate in the program.
During the event, students and their parents participated in interactive science laboratories and classes with UCSF faculty, attended convocations with UCSF officials, and visited with current UCSF students. One of the sessions featured students from the UCSF School of Nursing teaching the youngsters how to take blood pressures and listen to heart beats. The visitors also attended a “Pathways to College” goal-planning workshop.
“I believe that it’s never too early to make plans for one’s future career,” Dorothy F. Bainton, MD, UCSF Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, said. ” I was impressed with how quiet and attentive the fourth graders were and also that they asked good questions. For example, one student asked, ‘If I think I want to be a doctor or an engineer, when do I have to decide.’ They clearly are beginning to make their plans at this early age.”
Prior to visiting UCSF, the students from E.R. Taylor Elementary School were taught a college awareness curriculum where they learned about different universities by writing letters and asking for information to be sent to them. Teachers created college centers in the classroom where the students learned about the benefits of a college education, necessary preparations for college, financial aid options and career choices.
Once students completed their applications for college, they were notified by mail of their acceptance to UCSF for a campus visit. As a follow-up to the visit at UCSF, an assembly will be held at the school with students and their families to emphasize the value and attainability of a college education.
The E.R. Taylor Elementary School in San Francisco serves a multi-ethnic population from the Portola, Visitacion Valley and Silver Terrace neighborhoods. E.R. Taylor has participated in the “I’m Going to College” program for five years, and boasts a 96 percent attendance rate and steadily increasing math and reading proficiency scores.
Students at the school participate in a rich, college-bound focused academic program which integrates arts and technology into the regular curriculum. Students are also exposed to Spanish and Chinese language classes and visual and performing arts programs that reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of San Francisco.
The “I’m Going to College” curriculum was created in 1990 by the California Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (CASFAA) in response to the drastically low number of first generation and underserved students who enroll in college.
Chela Financial sponsors the program with the permission of CASFAA. It is the first of its kind to target children at such a young age. Chela Financial has financed approximately $4 billion of loans and $2 million in scholarships for college education.