Turning the dream of a college education into a reality

UC San Diego Extension partners with Barrio Logan College Institute on college prep programs


The dream of college can seem daunting — especially for those who are the first in their family to consider the path of higher education.

José A. Cruz, executive director at Barrio Logan College Institute, which provides college tutoring and mentoring starting as early as third grade, said the key is to have students realize the dream is attainable if they are willing to put in the effort.

“We teach students ‘active dreaming’ — have a dream, look forward to it, and look at what you’re doing now to prepare for that dream,” Cruz said.

To enable this “active dreaming,” Barrio Logan College Institute works with the entire family to prepare the students for college through a variety of after-school and summer programs.

In the early years, instructors focus on reading and writing skills. As the students move into middle school, more behavioral education is incorporated to equip students with the tools to resist negative influences that can distract them from their educational goals. In high school, the focus shifts to “college knowledge” to ensure students are choosing the best courses and extracurricular activities to achieve their educational goals and bolster their college applications.

A critical partner in Barrio Logan College Institute’s college preparatory programs is UC San Diego Extension, which presents a wide array of offerings from SAT instruction to summer programs that are designed to help prepare students both academically and socially for college. Every summer UC San Diego Extension runs Academic Connections, a three-week summer program on the UC San Diego Campus as well as a number of week-long courses in New Mexico, Arizona, Hawaii, and Washington D.C. To open up these transformative experiences to a wide variety of students, UC San Diego Extension offers five scholarship spots for those who attend the Barrio Logan College Institute.

Guillermo Garcia received one of the scholarships to study at the program in Los Alamos, N.M. There he studied geographic features of the region and how rising temperatures were impacting its trees as well as took earth samples in desert and mountain terrains.

“It was one of the best weeks I’ve ever had,” Garcia said. “It also impacted my studies. I wanted to do something with nature and engineering for a long time, and the program really helped me understand what I could do with that passion. When it comes to the future, my imagination is on full blast, thanks to UC San Diego Extension.”

Now a freshman at UC San Diego, Garcia is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering with hopes of continuing on to a Ph.D.

Cruz said Garcia’s experience is what “active dreaming” is all about and its benefits ripple beyond just the individual.

“Barrio Logan College Institute is growing so we can serve more kids and help more communities, but we are also looking at how the students themselves can make an impact on their community,” said Cruz. “Our partnership with UC San Diego Extension is putting our kids into leadership programs and teaching them how to create solutions. It inspires kids from these underserved neighborhoods to see what the college experience is like so that they can tell their friends and family and then share that experience with their communities.”

Find out more about Barrio Logan College Institute here. To learn more about UC San Diego Extension’s pre-collegiate programs, please visit k12.ucsd.edu.

Posted: 10/5/2015 12:00:00 AM with 0 comments
Filed under: Academic-connections, College, K12, Pre-collegiate, Uc-san-diego, Ucsd-extension

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