Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Be a Great Mentor!

Wes Wollard, former UNC Chapel Hill Chapter Director, and his mentee.

Being a mentor takes lots of time and effort. Here are some tips that will help you be or become the best mentor that you can be. When I am mentoring a student I imagine myself in their position and try to tell them all the things that I wish I was told before going into college. When mentoring your mentee just remember that you were just like them and you are the best resource that they could have. Simply be yourself!

Listen: Listen to your mentee. Sometimes a mentee may just need someone to talk to.

Communicate Openly: Communicate with your mentee. This will create a strong bond and your mentee will trust and feel like they could talk to you about anything.

Encourage: Encourage your mentee. Sometimes the college application process can be very hectic and discouraging. Stand with them and feed them with encouraging words. Be the one that believes in them when no one else does.

Share personal stories and struggles: Sharing personal stories with your mentee will let them know that they are not alone. Your success stories will give them hope and your struggles can possibly keep them from going through the same struggle that you went through.

Ask lots of questions: Asking questions will let your mentee know that you are interested in what they are saying.

Be reliable: Don’t flake on your mentee. Be there for them when they need you and always follow through with the things you say you are going to do.

Be the best mentor you can be.

Contributed by: Alicia Moore, SJSU Mentor & Strive Operations Team Member.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

College Terminology

Going to college sometimes means learning a new language. Read the rest of our post to learn some of the new vocab before you hit your campus this fall!

Major: A major is a field that you will be studying. Your classes and career will be based around your major so make sure you pick something that you are passionate about.

Minor: A minor will make your major more specific. Fewer classes are required for a minor. You can also have a minor that is unrelated to your major. A minor simply specifies a course of study. Sometimes it is referred to as a focus or concentration.

Add/Drop: In college the terms that are referred to when signing up for your classes are adding and dropping. When you add a class, you are simply adding it to your schedule and when you drop it you are eliminating it. There is a certain time frame for adding and dropping classes and after that period you are unable to add and drop classes throughout the semester.

Withdraw: Withdraw also known as dropping with a W. It is the process that occurs when you drop a class after the add/drop time slot. Dropping with a W is usually a process used when someone is not doing well in a class because when you drop with a W, your grade point average is not affected. Be careful before dropping with a W because when it is seen on a transcript by employers or scholarship committees, they have to explain to them why they dropped the class and didn’t follow through and complete the class.

Work Study: Work study is a program where you work usually somewhere on campus and the money goes towards your college tuition. It is a really good program and it helps you pay off your college fees. Sometimes work study money can even go towards your personal expenses.

Academic advisor: Your academic advisor is your counselor. They are there to guide you through the college process by helping you pick classes and stay on track for graduation.Your counselors are also there to help you maneuver around campus and they can also help you with personal issues that you may have.

Unit: Units are similar to what you called credits in high school. Each class is usually 3 units. Some schools have 4, 5 and 6 units. If you are enrolled for 12 units, you are considered a full time student. But you can always take more than 12 units (the maximum is usually 18 units). Make sure you don’t overload with classes, they take more time and studying than the classes in high school. Remember you are going to have a lot of other college activities going on and that will take up all the spare time that you think you are going to have.

Transferable units: Transferable units are units that are able to transfer from one school to another. If you are going to a community college your first two years or if you are planning to transfer schools, make sure your units/classes are transferable so that you will receive credit for all the work you’ve done after moving locations. Also check your AP units to make sure you do not repeat classes that you have already received credit for.

General Education Classes: General Education classes also known as GE classes are the courses that you will be taking your first two years of college. These classes will teach you the basic skills you need to know before moving into your major classes which are usually taken the last two years of college. The general education classes also introduce you to different fields and help you to develop a sense of passion in the various subjects available.

Prerequisites: Prerequisites are class requirements that need to be met before taking a higher ranked class. Usually an introduction class is needed before moving on to the advanced class. Also, some of the prerequisites test skills.

Upper Division standing: After completing your general education classes you are considered to be in upper division standing.

Catalog: The college catalog is a booklet where you can find all the classes available at your school. The catalog will give you a brief description on the class and will tell you what requirement that the class will fulfill.

Syllabus: The syllabus, sometimes referred to as the green sheet is a sheet of paper with a list of dates and deadlines that you will have to meet throughout the school year. The syllabus is very important. It will tell you when your papers and assignments are due so make sure you keep track of it.

In college, you will come across many of these words. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about any other unknown words that you come across. If there are important words that we have not included here, please share with our readers in the comments section!

Contributed by: Alicia Moore, SJSU mentor and Strive Operations Team Member

Monday, June 20, 2011

Making the Most of Your College Experience

Have No Fear Strive is Here

Mentor or Mentee, the Strive for College program always has your back!

Through thick and thin we will be here 'til the end.

Going off to college can be an emotional rollercoaster. It is exciting yet scary all at once! College is an amazing experience and you will have a blast. Don’t be afraid! You have your mentors to guide you through the process.

Going away from home to a place where you don’t know anyone can be very scary. You may be thinking that you’re not going to meet anyone and that you are going to get lost when looking for classes. But it is much easier to meet people in college because everyone is open to make friends and meet people because they don’t know anyone either. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. It’s much easier than you think. Don’t worry about getting lost either. There are plenty of maps to guide you.

When I was a freshman I didn’t think I would make friends so easily. Lots of people were introducing themselves and welcoming me with warm arms to the university! When I saw everyone else introducing themselves, I began to do the same. I never shook so many hands in my life. So don’t worry about not making friends. That’s the least of your concerns.

Don’t be afraid to go to the events or join the clubs that are available on campus. In the clubs you will meet people that share the same interests as you. You will also be fully involved with campus events that will help you become better acquainted with the school. Getting involved on campus is key.

My major is public relations so I joined a club called Public Relations Students Society of America. (PRSSA). I met a lot of students that shared the same major as me and I made some cool friends that gave me recommendations on teachers to take classes with and other fun clubs that I could join in order to be fully involved.

The college classes may seem intimidating and scary but you are capable of taking and passing them. Strive for College has prepared and provided you with tips that you can take with you into college. No need to worry about personal statements or how to read your transcripts. You have learned that from Strive. The classes are made to be convenient for you. You pick what time and what classes you want to take. There are a lot of different classes for you to choose from in order to fit your interests. This makes college a lot more fun and interesting than high school.

In high school, I hated PE! But when I got to college I fell in love with PE because there were so many classes to choose from. I was able to take Latin dance, kickboxing, and bowling just to name a few. The college classes are fun. They may be a little more challenging but don’t be discouraged because you are more than capable. Also the teachers are very helpful. They are always willing to meet with you one on one for help in the class or to just simply talk.

Keep in contact with your mentors after the Strive program is over. They are still willing to answer any questions and help with any problems that may occur. There are plenty of ways to stay in contact with your mentor. My mentee and I stay in contact through Facebook. She is leaving for Nevada to continue on with her education and I know that we will stay in touch. I will always be there for her. So make sure you add your mentor on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or any other social networking site. Also exchange numbers and email addresses in order to keep in touch. They would love to hear from you.

Contributed by Alicia Moore, SJSU Mentor and Strive Operations Team Intern.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Make This Summer a Proactive one!

Hey Strivers!!

The school year is coming to an end. Many of you are graduating and some of you are going to become seniors. Here are a few activities to consider doing during the summer:

• Make sure you are looking ahead and marking your calendar with the deadlines that you will have to meet throughout the upcoming semester. You don’t want those deadlines to sneak up on you. The ACT and SAT deadlines are important and should be noted. Visit the College Board to make sure you are aware of the deadlines!

• Try doing some practice ACT and SAT exams to better prepare you for the test. The practice ACT exam can be found here and the SAT practice test on the college board website.

• Make sure you apply for the scholarships that are out there. It’s never too early or late to apply. has plenty of scholarship opportunities for all of you.

• Start considering a major that you want to go into. You can use following website to help you choose a major that is good for you. This website may help inform your decision making process.

• Start looking at the schools you are interested in attending and become better acquainted by taking campus tour or browsing around the school website. If you can, go on college visits with your parents and friends.

• Stay involved with extracurricular activities and volunteer work. It will come in handy when creating a resume or filling out your college applications.

• Start thinking of a personal statement topic. Some schools require personal statements during the college applications process. Click here for lots of tips and advice for writing a personal statement.

Enjoy your summer!

Contributed by: Alicia Moore, SJSU mentor & Strive Operations Intern

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Featured Student

Jowita Fratczak
Del Mar High School (CA)

Jowita, a senior, immigrated from Poland when she was 13 and has spent her childhood overcoming tremendous odds.  Despite living in a house with an abusive father who was later incarcerated and eventually deported, Jowita managed to earn a 3.6 GPA, while tutoring English language learners and serving as Del Mar's Commissioner of Clubs.

Despite her tremendous perseverance and academic success, Jowita was not accepted to any of the universities she applied to because of  an incomplete understanding of the application process.  Having not asked for her official test scores to be sent to the schools, she found herself with a pile of rejection letters and the prospect of reapplying to local community colleges.

And then, Strive was able to intervene.  Del Mar's counselor Richard Mendoza reached out  to us to help, and due to our relationship with San Jose State University and thanks to the commitment of  Jason Laker, the Vice President of Student Affairs, Julita was able to secure  an acceptance in next fall's incoming class.

Jowita, who will be the first in her family to graduate from college, plans to major in Psychology and aspires to attend law school to focus on immigration law. Jowita has channeled her struggles into the motivation she needs to succeed, and wants to do her part to build a life of greater opportunity for herself and others.  Like hundreds of other students around the country, she knows the first step is college, and Strive is honored to have helped her get there!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Op Ed Piece about Strive in the Chronicle of Higher Education!

Strive for College

December 17, 2010, 2:47 pm

As the January 1st deadline for applications at many universities nears, it’s alarming to think about the many talented low-income students who won’t apply to four-year colleges for which they are qualified.

I’ve spent much of the past decade-and-a-half focusing on economic diversity in higher education—with an emphasis on admissions and financial-aid strategies for low-income students. One of the critical ways to achieve greater socioeconomic diversity is for colleges to provide affirmative action for economically disadvantaged students, whom my frequent collaborator Anthony Carnevale calls “strivers.”

I’ve often noted that providing financial aid alone is not enough to improve access for low- income students; in order to receive financial aid, students first have to be admitted. Universities that have generous financial-aid policies, but admit few low-income students, won’t do much for socioeconomic diversity.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Boost for College-Bound Seniors

National nonprofit Strive for College has its roots in Campbell Union High School District.

On Friday, a room full of Del Mar High School students, teachers and mentors got together to celebrate the end of Strive for College's fall session. They also celebrated their future: college.

"If it hadn't been for this program, I would have been tearing out the hair on my head," said Del Mar senior Molica Nol. "It takes time out of school to find some of this information. You don't want to be at home doing it all alone."

Nol is involved in a local chapter of a nonprofit organization that has its roots in Campbell and goes out across the nation to universities for mentors to help guide high school students through the college-application process.

"This is one of our largest chapters, as well as one of the oldest," says Sofia Janney-Roberts, coordinator for Strive for College's nine chapters.