Y-Scholars Program Taking College Tours to the Next Level

“We are taking college tours to the next level. Y-Scholars are going to actual college classes during their visits” said Jose Herrera Cruz, Associate Academic Manager at the YMCA-PG&E Teen Center.

The tour is open to all grade levels because it’s never too early to start thinking about college. This year the YMCA-Teen Center Y-Scholars program visited Chico State, St. Mary’s College, University of California Berkeley and University of California Santa Cruz.

“When buying a car” Jose explained “You don’t just go online and buy one. You go take a look at it. You pick out the color you want. You test out the seats. You take it for a spin.” College is a similar if not bigger investment. Students should have the opportunity to go to the colleges they are considering and take it for a spin.

With the help of an active growing alumni network, the program has been able to offer smaller more intimate tour to local colleges. Y-Scholar Alum, Ana Barbara Ibarra, gave a tour to a few students at Saint Mary’s College. It gave the high school students the chance to reconnect with their peer and hear the real 411.

The second campus on the college tour this year was Chico State University. The group took a bus filled with 52 students and 6 chaperones for a day trip to visit. Estefania had a fantastic time checking out Chico and learning about college life there. She, along with a couple other seniors, liked it so much that they plan to attend Chico State University next school year.

At Cal, students explored campus during CAL DAY, an annual open house celebration. In addition, they had the opportunity to schedule a special visit to sit in the classrooms and listen to a lecture.

The last stop on the tour was a visit to UC Santa Cruz. Staff took 38 students on a chartered bus down to the university for the day for an academic and social tour led by a Y-Scholar staff member who is currently attending UCSC. As an added treat, the group stopped by the Beach Boardwalk to enjoy the warm California sun before heading back to the bay.

Jose has already started planning for next year. He hopes to add more local colleges and universities to the tour and one year in the near future perhaps include a few out of state schools too.  Currently only three to four Y-Scholar graduates pursue a college out of state. If they are able to visit those perhaps more and more students will try for them, apply and take this program to another level.

By: Jerico Paguio