November 1, 2002

UCSD Reaches Out to First-Generation College Students

More than 150 high school seniors from San Diego and Imperial Counties – the majority of who will be the first in their families to attend college – visited the campus of the University of California, San Diego last Saturday to learn the rudiments of successfully applying to UCSD and other University of California schools.

Chula Vista High School senior Andres Zacarias (seated), a member of UCSD's Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP), receives instruction from EAOP outreach coordinator Rebeca Valenzuela (left) recently on how to register online for the SAT college entrance exam. Looking on are Andres' parents, Laura and Jesus Zacarias.

The students — participants in the UCSD Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) which provides a wide range of college preparatory services for students from middle school through high school graduation – attended the all-day annual event known as UC-EAOP Day with their parents to begin preparing for the UC application process which occurs in students’ senior year.

UCSD is among UC’s 10 campuses with EAOP programs. Data show that students who participate in EAOP’s comprehensive array of motivational, informational and academic activities provided by EAOP throughout high school are twice as likely to complete UC preparatory coursework by the end of their senior year as their non-EAOP counterparts. This, according to the UC Office of the President, proves the positive link between early college prep outreach and UC admission, and makes EAOP the most successful of the UC-funded outreach programs intended for low-come and ethnically underrepresented high school students, as well as for first-generation college students.

At last weekend’s session, EAOP seniors received important information to increase their chances of admission to UCSD and other UC campuses. This includes receiving tips on how to write an effective personal statement for their UC application; financial aid available, how to complete a UC application properly, and advice on preparing and applying for the SAT I, SAT II and ACT exams. And, students’ parents received similar information on how to effectively assist their children in the application process.

“This event,” says Rafael Hernandez, EAOP director at UCSD,” is in keeping with the EAOP mission: To provide our students with all the necessary tools to be competitive for admission to UC and other colleges and universities of their choice.”

Students are selected to participate in EAOP earlier in high school based on their grade point average, the challenging college-prep courses they take, and their potential to apply to and to be accepted by competitive universities such as the University of California.

EAOP’s approach to early college prep intervention appears to be paying off: UCSD data for the past three school years indicate that the number of high school seniors from ethnically underrepresented groups (including Chicano/Latino, African American, and American Indian) in San Diego and Imperial Counties who were UC eligible after completing the EAOP program has increased steadily from 349 in 1998-99 to 456 in 2000-01, an overall increase of 30.7 percent. In addition, preliminary data for the 2001-02 school year indicate the number of UC- eligible EAOP seniors from underrepresented groups will increase from 456 to about 650 during this period, representing an overall rise of 86.2 percent (or 301 seniors) from 1998-99 to 2001-02.

In general, of the approximately 1,500 high school seniors served each year by UCSD’s EAOP program in San Diego and Imperial Counties, more than half are eligible to attend UCSD and other UC campuses upon graduation, and more than 80 percent will go on to attend college at a UC campus or elsewhere.

For more information on UCSD’s EAOP program and its college preparatory services, contact Mario Aguilar, director of EAOP South Bay, at 619-778-2043, or

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