First generation students seek support for academic future
April 27, 2022
As this academic year comes to an end and seniors begin to finalize their plans for the future, they are also reflecting on their journey and experiences of applying to colleges and universities. In particular, they are thinking back on the support they received and lack thereof.
College counseling is crucial for high school students because there is so much that goes into applying for colleges.
Many students are fortunate enough to have parents and older siblings that have already gone through this process or have a lineup of support systems ready for any question they may have, but a number of students simply do not.
HHS holds a number of first-generation students who will be the first in their families to attend college or a four year university: many of whom began applying to college being completely clueless and with little to no support.
“I am a first generation student,” Heidi Romero, senior, said. “My parents are very supportive, but their knowledge on college applications is limited. This is when I expected the school to play a role, but it did not. COVID hit and I, along with many of my peers, began to struggle. School work became even harder to do with all of my new and existing responsibilities, but I received little to no support.”
Most first generation students come from underrepresented communities and backgrounds. Many have siblings and are a big support system in their household. Romero, for example, is the oldest of 5. She took responsibility for ensuring that all of her siblings adapted into distance learning properly, and put her needs aside. “I care about my family more than anything and I could never stand to see my siblings struggle,” said Romero.
HHS offers college prep programs such as AVID, which is a program that is made to prepare students for all opportunities beyond high school. Students are typically introduced to AVID in their early junior high years and continue it throughout their high school career. It helps students prepare for the ACT and plan for their futures after graduation.
“AVID offers and has hosted many opportunities regarding college readiness for students and their families. The only issue is the lack of advertisement,” said Mrs. Heimlich, senior AVID teacher. “Anyone and everyone is welcome to join AVID and their events”.
This now sparks the question, why weren’t these events and opportunities prioritized and advertised?
“When I began my college applications, I had to figure everything out on my own,” Lena Lusczcynska, senior, said. “I did not know AVID or any of these events existed until now and they would have been crucial help for me. If I hadn’t had my mind set on what I wanted for myself, I don’t believe that anyone would have reached out or helped me.”
Every year, HHS prioritizes sporting events with enthusiasm. Football and basketball games, school spirit, and dances are all readily advertised with daily announcements, Instagram posts, and posters throughout the building. While school spirit is also a crucial part of the high school experience, HHS needs to focus more attention on students’ futures, especially for those who need it most.