Cisneros Mentorship Program – Designed to reach out and prepare junior level high school students by partnering them up with a mentor from Whittier College. From the beginning of the student’s junior year in high school until their graduation day, the mentor will assist the student with all of the fundamentals needed to prepare for their higher education.

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The mentor/mentee relationship helps give the younger student more confidence in moving forward with their desired academic path, as the mentors monitor the mentees’ academic progress, offer resources, and provide overall academic support and guidance.

In partnership with the College’s Center for Engagement with Communities (CEC), the program is based on a successful mentorship program currently implemented by the CEC with Whittier and La Serna high schools. In both existing programs, more than 90% of participating high school students have been accepted to a four-year college or university.


Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) – As the largest University of California academic preparation program,   EAOP works directly with students to increase the number of those achieving a postsecondary education. Through a series of collaborative strategies that include 1) academic enrichment programs, 2) academic advising, 3) test preparation, and 4) parent engagement, it is EAOP’s goal to enhance the postsecondary opportunities and college going rates of the students and schools it serves.

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EAOP is proud to partner with Generation 1st-Degree Pico Rivera to offer students at El Rancho High School direct access to college information and UC Irvine staff in order to help make college success a reality.


Be A Leader – Senior Boot Camp – For many high school seniors, especially those that have not prepared for college after graduation, Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera’s “Be A Leader – Senior Boot Camp” program provides the opportunity to participate in a series of college preparation workshops, which take place on a college campus, and provide students with a detailed and easy to navigate “support system” during the college and scholarship application process. This extensive system ensures that the student receives one-on-one assistance with the often-daunting process of applying for a university and/or a scholarship.

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The summer going into their senior year, students from El Rancho High School work with expert staff members who help them prepare and organize in order to meet critical deadlines.  The whole family participates in this process, as the parents and student sign a contract stating that the student will commit taking part in the ACT and/or SAT process, apply to at least four colleges/universities, complete and submit at least six scholarship applications, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application (if eligible), and attend monthly senior boot camp sessions. In addition, participating students receive a senior year “Action Plan” — designed to help them stay on track with monthly testing and application deadlines.

“Be A Leader-Senior Boot Camp” is modeled after the Arizona-based “Be A Leader”  student-run club, a program for high school students that teaches students the fundamentals of college preparation.


Reading Roots – Did you know that 61% of low-income families do not have any age appropriate books in their homes? Also, that children in low-income families typically enter kindergarten more than a year behind the national average in pre-reading and language skills? To help plant the seeds of a lifelong love of reading, Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera provides books to every single kindergarten student in the city every fall. This promotes the importance of reading and encourages families to get involved in their child’s literacy development. Reading Roots helps children take the first step on a route to college and life-long learning success. Over the years, thousands of books have been distributed to children to support them in creating their own personal libraries at home.

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Additionally, poor reading skills are connected with a child’s lack of confidence, substance abuse, academic failure, teen pregnancy, delinquency, unemployment, low productivity, and dependence on welfare. One of the best solutions to these literacy challenges is to help children fall in love with reading at a very young age and by providing books for them to take home.

As the goal of Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera is to have every student in Pico Rivera receive a college degree, this connection in the early years is one of the best ways to help instill a love of learning in a child and help them reach their full potential.


The College Blueprint Planning & Test Preparation Programs – For all college-bound students, navigating the process of getting into college is a difficult task. Between test taking, application deadlines and personal essays, it is challenging to know which route is best for each student’s particular needs. To help students find the best options available, Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera has teamed up with The College Blueprint, LLC offer professional college planning and test preparation guidance.

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The College Blueprint assists students at by offering workshops to help students identify which standardized test to take, and to provide students with testing strategy. Past programs included an intensive program for rising seniors, to assist them in choosing a list of colleges for their applications, researching careers and majors, and drafting personal statements for their college applications.


College Essay Workshops – There is no one correct way to write the perfect college essay, but it is important for high school seniors to show a side of themselves not reflected in other parts of their college application. Every fall, Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera offers a six-week essay writing workshop, where students receive expert guidance and advice on how to write a stand out personalized essay that will help set them apart from others and convey clearly why they should be accepted into the college(s) of their choice.

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At the end of the workshops, students have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with top university counselors, who will review and offer constructive critiques of their essays.


Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera Town Hall: Getting accurate and complete information about the costs and qualifications needed to be successful in college can be confusing. To help give families in Pico Rivera the information they need for their children’s higher education, Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera hosts a Town Hall event every spring, where parents and their children meet with University representatives to gain valuable insight into the collegiate process, as well as tips on how to become better prepared for college before high school graduation.