May 9, 2003

College Expo (…for Parents!)

The Most Prominent Academic Outreach Organizations in the County Will Host The Inaugural College Expo (…For Parents!)

In an unprecedented effort to provide San Diego County parents with sorely needed information regarding college and its affordability, the largest educational outreach programs in the region will collaborate to host the College Expo (… for Parents!). Over two dozen organizations have combined resources to bring a program to San Diego County that targets the needs of parents of middle and high school students. The Saturday, May 17th event will take place on the campus of the University of California, San Diego, in the University Center.

The program’s chief organizers feel that the timing of the event comes at a critical moment in the lives of Californians. “We’re in the midst of the largest budget crisis in the history of the state,” says Linda Doughty, Director of the California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP). “Considering the status of California’s economy, there has never been a time where Californians have needed to take advantage of the state’s educational opportunities as much as right now.”

The program of events is a radical departure from those of current programs such as college fairs and student information sessions. The College Expo (… for Parents!) will focus on the demands of parents, as opposed to the typical approach of merely catering to the needs of students. Nicole Jackson, Assistant Director of the Early Academic Outreach Program at UC San Diego, was instrumental in determining the direction of the event. “The schools seem inundated with outreach programs that provide students with information regarding college preparation. One of the challenges facing all of these outreach programs is to get this information home to the parents,” Jackson stated. “We felt that by collaborating on an event focused on parent needs we could empower parents to inform and support one another.”

The fellowship created with the area’s major universities, colleges, and outreach organizations is unprecedented in both scale and diversity of orientation. While collaborators include varied entities ranging from church organizations designed to serve urban communities, to admissions offices of highly selective private universities, a point of consensus exists on the importance of the mission of the expo: To allow parents to absorb as much information about the complicated college application, admission, and financial aid process as possible. Such a program, the organizers feel, is fundamental to the success of the next generation of potential college students. “You know the saying ‘knowledge is power’?” asked Erica Murrietta of Cal-SOAP. “With college admissions, you can take it a step farther: Knowledge translates into power, opportunity, and, for those students graduating college, employability.”

The College Expo (… for Parents!) includes sessions discussing the topics of financing a college education, standardized test preparation, and early preparation for college. The day will be capped by a college fair to include representatives from regional universities and community colleges. Opportunities will be available to network with other parents with similar concerns throughout the day. Parents of all sixth through twelfth grade students are encouraged to attend, and students are welcome as well. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with registration to take place from 8 to 9 a.m.

For further information, contact the California Student Opportunity and Access Program at 858-569-1866, or elameire@ucsd.edu.

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