Parents’ Perspective on the College Campus Tour of UCSB

Click here to see a video from the tour!

On Monday, November 7th, 63 El Rancho High School students and 11 parents participated in a day-long adventure to UC Santa Barbara for a college campus tour, sponsored by Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera. The day started with a walking tour of the campus where students and parents got to see campus life while building up an appetite for lunch. Boxed lunches were enjoyed by the campus’ beautiful lagoon, followed by a presentation on college admissions. After a short break, parents and students parted ways to attend presentations created specifically for each group. ERHS students sat in with a student panel made up of ERHS alum now attending UCSB. The UCSB student panel shared highlights and stories on their experience, and ERHS students had an opportunity to ask their most pressing questions.

Before the campus tour, parents who attended expressed interest in learning about campus life, safety, and tuition costs, and also expressed concerns about how their child would do on their own. G1DPR worked with UCSB to create a special workshop for ERHS parents that addressed these topics. It was an opportunity to remove any worry from their minds by asking UCSB staff about any questions or concerns. We were able to interview a few parents after the tour, and here is what they had to say:

How has this tour changed the way you think or feel about your child going away to college?

It has changed my mind. I see the ability to see her on her own. She seems to adapt very well.
-Jose Cruz
Learning the services that UCSB offers gave me much peace because the focus of the staff is not only to educate, but also to enforce the health and safety of the students.
Juana Cruz

Positively, it was a very good experience. They are going to mature more and they will learn how to make decisions for themselves; and know that if they work hard they will achieve what they want.
-Angelica Leggis

Now that you’ve completed the tour, do you feel more comfortable sending you child away to college, and if so, tell us why? For example, are your fears gone?

I am very comfortable. Seeing her adapt today gives me security.
-Jose Cruz
When my son told me he wanted to attend a University far from home, I did not like the idea at all. But now that I know the services, which are more accessible than I thought, I am not hesitant for him to go to college.
Juana Cruz

Yes, because we received so much information on all the programs and the help is available for them. We also learned how they can be involved in many activities, and that there are opportunities to work at the university.
-Angelica Leggis

Would you recommend other parents to attend college campus tours with their child, and if yes, please explain why?

Yes. This allows parents to see the lifestyle in a different way.

-Jose Cruz

Yes, as a parent, one also has questions. It is especially good to know the university that your son will be attending.
Juana Cruz

It is highly recommendable, since it gives us an idea as to what our children experience so we can understand it more and give them our support.
-Angelica Leggis

We want to thank UC Santa Barbara for being wonderful hosts to our El Ranch families.

Click here to see the video and read more about the day’s event as featured on UCSB’s news site!


Meet Yvette Torres, Be A Leader Foundation Coordinator

Welcome back to all our students. My name is Yvette Torres and I am the High School Coordinator for Be A Leader Foundation- Pico Rivera. I am a First Generation College Graduate from the University of California, Irvine with a BA in Education Studies and Psychology and Social Behavior.

As the first person in my family to pursue a college degree, I was completely lost in the transition from high school to college and had to figure out how to navigate the system on my own. I was not sure of what classes to take, where to go ask for help, what loans to accept, or the importance of internships and networking during college.

If it wasn’t for the amazing support from my high school teachers, I would not have been able to graduate from UCI and find my passion in helping First Generation Students achieve a higher education.

As the High School Coordinator for Be A Leader, I am given the opportunity to help students, with stories very similar to my own, explore the different options of higher education. Most importantly, I serve as a mentor during the transition from high school to college.

I run the Be A Leader Club, where we help foster a college going environment at ERHS. I also work closely with our Senior Boot Camp Students to assist them with the college application process, financial aid, and helping them make their final decision of where to go to college.

This year, I am excited to start our Be A Leader Alumni Support Group as we reach out to our Be A Leader graduates on their journey through college, to offer mentorship, so they do not feel lost in their transition into college.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with G1DPR and Be A Leader to help students reach their goals and work toward G1DPR’s mission of having a college degree in every home.

I’m amazed by the support that students and alumni are given through all the programs that G1DPR sponsors. It’s great to work with an organization that understands the importance of helping students go to college, but ultimately ensuring they finish their education and succeed.

Meet Michelle Sandoval, Be A Leader’s New Project Manager

This month we caught up with Michelle Sandoval, Be A Leader’s new Project Manager, for an introductory Q&A.

We’re excited to welcome Michelle as part of our G1DPR family and look forward to all of our students and parents meeting her.

What is your new role with Be A Leader and G1DPR?

I am the newest Project Manager for the Be A Leader Foundation- Pico Rivera. I am responsible for overseeing the curriculum development for the Senior students in our group, to assist them in achieving their fullest potential as they complete the college application process. Additionally, my role implements and executes college-focused activities that expand into the community, such as college visits, workshops and panels.

Tell us about your background: Where did you grow up and where did you go to high school & college?

I am the proud daughter of Mexican and Guatemalan immigrant parents, born and raised in a small town located in the heart of the Coachella Valley. I completed high school at Desert Hot Springs High School and, as the first college graduate in my family, received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, with a minor in Communication, from Stanford University.

What was your college application process and college experience like? Who guided you?

The experience for me was very much like throwing a dart at a bullseye, while blindfolded. Although I was valedictorian of my class and had challenged myself extensively – for example, I had completed two courses at UC-Riverside as a Junior in high school, my position as a daughter of immigrants whose first language was Spanish, meant that I counted on my parents for the moral support to get through the college application process but was very much on my own when it came to completing the forms themselves. The guidance I received came in the form of the “can do” attitude that my parents instilled in me, which ultimately allowed for me to succeed in researching and informing myself as much about the process as I could.

What inspires you to help Be A Leader/G1DPR students be successful – what do you want our students and parents to know about the support they can receive?

The application process was one of the most stressful periods for me in my academic career. I had done everything that I possibly could to demonstrate the kind of competitive student I was; however, I felt so alone. I want my students to know that I have been there, my parents have been there, and that they do not have to do it alone just because I did. It takes a village for a child to succeed. And, we are the village that is going to support their family throughout the college process.

What are your goals for Be A Leader this first semester?

My goals are to strengthen and empower the participating Senior Boot Camp students in preparation for their college applications. Also, I would like to increase the mentorship role that the Senior students play in the lives of the underclassmen Be A Leader Club members through educational activities and visibility within the community.

What message would you like to extend to our G1DPR family – students, parents, & community?

We CAN do it. Not alone, but together. ¡Juntos podemos!