Despite the incalculable opportunity and financial mobility afforded by a college education, many young people don’t envision themselves at four-year universities--especially those facing the greatest hurdles to get there.
Humboldt State University’s “I’ve Been Admitted to College” event, or IBAC, inspires local eighth-grade students to imagine themselves as college graduates.
“We want all the eighth graders who participate in IBAC to envision themselves in college because we know higher education opens a lot of doors,” explains HSU’s Local Pathways Coordinator and IBAC organizer Molly Pucillo. “We want this opportunity for all our local students.”
Despite the increasing costs of higher education, a study from Georgetown University found that college graduates, on average, earn $1 million more than high school graduates over their lifetime. Annually, the Pew Research Center reports that this income gap is about $17,500 per year.
This November, IBAC shifted from an all-day campus event to a week-long virtual experience for eighth-graders from Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity, and Mendocino counties. More than 25 local schools have registered more than 600 students and educators for the virtual IBAC, which will take place from 11:00 to 11:45 a.m., November 16-20.
“By connecting directly with HSU students, they hear from students who were in their shoes not long ago,” says Pucillo.
IBAC was established by local educators and tribal leaders who wanted to help students see the value in graduating from high school and college. Hosted by the HSU Office of Admissions and Humboldt County Office of Education, IBAC plants the seeds for thinking about college before students even start high school.
“Being virtual has pushed us to be even more collaborative and creative with IBAC this year,” says Pucillo.
During this week’s virtual sessions, eighth-graders will hear from HSU staff about how to prepare for college and be able to ask HSU students how they overcame barriers to get there. Additional activities include a physical challenge from the Athletics department, an interactive virtual tour of campus, and learning how college students take care of themselves in the Brain Booth, an experiential space to reduce stress in the HSU Library.
At the end of the week, every participating eighth-grader will receive a personalized Admission Promise Certificate that guarantees acceptance to HSU for every student who meets their A-G requirements in high school.
“It’s a dynamic experience for our local students that will fuse fun with college exploration,” says Pucillo.