Majority of Richmond graduates don’t meet admission requirements for state’s public universities
on October 24, 2014
High school graduation is supposed to signify the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another, but a majority of Richmond students walk away from their high school education without the requirements to enroll in a California public university.
This number, according to the California Department of Education, reflects a statewide problem in which 60% of graduates in state didn’t meet admissions requirements during that same year.
Bruce Harter, WCCUSD superintendent, chose to promote the district’s efforts towards a college going culture in his October message to district employees, students and parents.
“The college going culture is alive and growing in WCCUSD” Harter wrote. “We expect our students to set their minds on continuing their educations after high school.”
John F. Kennedy High School serves as just one example where this culture is being implemented. Last week, around 800 students in the school participated in the district’s College Day by taking the SAT and PSAT. This was the second year that the district administered the tests free of charge.
Kennedy houses a college and career center where students are able to attend workshops designated to help with their college applications. Counselors also play a key role in preparing students for college.
“I would say maybe 50% of students know that they want to go to college but only a small amount of those students are even eligible to apply,” Sylvia Munoz, college and career counselor for Kennedy, said. “The majority of our students go straight to community college.”
Students who don’t choose the college route often pursue trade school. Programs at Kennedy include IT, law, and architecture pathways and labs for construction technology and welding that are designed to help ease the transition into the workforce after graduation.
The school has almost doubled its percentage of graduating students meeting UC/CSU standards from 16% for the class of 2011 to 31% for the class of 2013, but its numbers are still smaller compared to other high schools in the district.
Alejandra Oseguera serves as the primary counselor for seniors at Kennedy. She said many students aren’t choosing to take advantage of courses that could help with their college eligibility because they don’t see the need to take extra classes after fulfilling their minimum requirements for graduation.
For example, the Education Code requires three years of math for graduation but the UC/CSU systems require four years for freshman admissions.
“It is sad to see that some students want to go to college but can’t,” Oseguera said. “That’s where we come in and say yeah, you don’t need it for high school graduation requirements but we want you to be college ready.”
This year, Munoz said the goal is to meet with every student in grades 9-12 individually to develop a strategy for being eligible to apply for a four-year college by time of graduation.
Munoz said, “My biggest hope for my students is for them to have a plan when they graduate.”
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