At First Place, we know that all of our young people have the potential to achieve long-term success and self-sufficiency. We also know that in today’s world, post-secondary education is a vital to provide a foundation on which to build that long-term success. But colleges aren’t one size fits all. With so much of today’s college application process focusing on applicants proving that they are the “right choice” for admission, it’s important for young people to understand how to choose the school that’s right for them.
Visiting schools is an important part of that decision making process. Every school and campus is a community with its own unique vibe. And each school has it’s own strengths. A day on campus can go a long way in helping young people figure out whether their strengths and the school’s are a match and if there is a community they want to be a part of.
For foster youth, however, making college visits can be a challenge. Many foster youth lack the resources to travel and don’t have someone to guide them through the process of scheduling a visit. That’s where First Place for Youth comes in. Our staff not only provide one-on-one support to help our young people through the college application process, but also coordinate group campus tours every year.
In May, First Place Los Angeles staff took 11 of our participants on a “field trip” that offered them opportunity to experience a taste of what it’s like to be a student at the University of San Diego and San Diego State University. The overnight visit allowed youth to get a sense of the campuses and the San Diego community, and gain perspective on what it means to be in a university setting.
At our Santa Clara County office, staff have been working in partnership with other regional organizations, including the Santa Clara County Office of Education and the HUB (Bill Wilson Center), to host a weekly series of day trips to Bay Area colleges this month. These trips were open to both current and former foster youth, from age 14 – 25, and gave young people the opportunity to explore the wide variety of postsecondary options available, from San Jose City College to UC Berkeley.
We hope that these trips give our participants greater enthusiasm for the next step in their educational journey and a stronger sense of what to look for in their college choices.
To see pictures from LA’s San Diego trip, click the thumbnail below!