13th+ College Transition and Engagement
BFN students will attend a college 101 boot camp the summer before college to help them transition to a new environment away from home. During their first year, students will check in with BFN Academic Counselors to discuss academic coursework as it relates to their major and possible career paths, their involvement in school groups/ extracurricular activities, and ongoing financial aid and support.
Over the years BFN has acquired knowledge about college and its success through our “I Have A Dream” Program.
“I Have A Dream” Program
The East Palo Alto chapter of “I Have a Dream” was started in 1992 by Stanford Business School MBA students, including Dave Michael, Thad Walen, Nick Folger, and Peter Dumanian. After incorporating and intensive fundraising, they adopted 72 third and fourth graders who attended the Flood School in East Menlo Park. They promised these students their ongoing academic, social, and financial support, including stipends for college tuition. In 2001,100% of these students graduated from high school and most subsequently graduated from college. A second cohort of 60 Dreamers entered the program during their first grade year at Costaño School in East Palo Alto. These students graduated from high school in 2013, and most are in their second year of college.
I was born in Michoacan, Mexico and brought to East Palo Alto by my parents who were seeking a better future for my siblings and I. At the time, I did not realize the educational system I was being put into, one where I was statistically less likely to make it to college and less likely to be exposed to the many educational opportunities others would have.
Thanks to the I Have A Dream program though, I was provided with these opportunities and many more. I am very grateful to have been a part of that lucky first grade class to receive help and attention from the program. They were with me every year helping with tutors, mentors, college trips and tours, field trips to places like aquariums, financial assistance, and informative assistance on the many educational opportunities. It’s the IHAD program I have to thank for helping me attend Eastside College Preparatory School in 6th grade. They helped me apply and with their full support I was admitted to an institution that helped me get to where I am today. It was very rewarding to have a program help me accomplish many goals from the start. I don’t think I can ever express the full gratitude or appreciation I have for the I Have A Dream Program. I hope this program continues helping students like me succeed in academic and other areas as well.
My 1st Year’s College Experience
College provides an environment unlike the one in high school. The overwhelming amount of courses, clubs and organizations make it difficult to choose and pursue a single interest. Despite the overwhelming nature of the many college pursuits proposed, it’s actually a delightful feeling to have so many groups to choose from. However, it’s important to not become engulfed in the selecting process since a focus is essential for success in this environment.
Although academic success is a primary focus in college, the people one meets supply a bit more. I learned a lot from speaking to people, seeing their perspective, and being exposed to the topics they brought and continue to bring forth. It’s always rewarding to be in a environment where one can take advantage of the opportunity to speak to people form different backgrounds and cultures. It’s a freedom and part of the independence of being in college.
This freedom adds even more to the fact that college is an environment significantly different from the one in high school. It doesn’t just contain may more people, clubs and organizations, and courses, but it’s accompanied by many of the responsibilities of being an adult. These responsibilities pose somewhat of a challenge, but it’s an experience that’s worth encountering and one I hope to fully conquer.