For the first time, the University of Redlands South Coast Metro campus is hosting a group of 27 high school students who have been accepted into the Achievement Institute of Scientific Studies. A two-summer college-prep program that focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), the Achievement Institute has paved the way for more than 150 Southern California low-income high school students to attend college over the last 20 years.
As part of the new alliance between the campus and the Achievement Institute, U of R students pursuing a master’s degree in school counseling are working closely with the teens.
“Our graduate students are working with the high school students to develop career readiness and manage stress, as well as combating any other issues that are typical of high school juniors and seniors,” said U of R Professor Ron Morgan, supervisor of the internship program. “Seven graduate interns have groups of five or six students, and they meet every day during the program to talk about preparing for college.”
Alexander Arebalo, a graduate intern from the U of R, says that the learning experience is twofold for both himself and the high school students. “The most rewarding aspect of working with the students is seeing their drive and hard work day in and day out, while helping them pursue their passions and keeping them on track towards life-long success,” he said.
More than 100 high school students applied to the Achievement Institute, and 27 were admitted. “The students have to have at least a 3.7 GPA, but this year the average is 4.2,” said Morgan. “They also have to demonstrate financial need, or come from a low-income household.”
The program offers the students two summers of classes. The first, occurring before their junior year of high school, focuses on STEM studies and allows the students to network with local professionals. During the second summer, students concentrate on the comprehensive aspects of their educational plan, such as researching universities and scholarships they can apply for.
“I figured I’ll join [the Achievement Institute] so they can help me, and in the future I’ll be able to help myself,” Isaias Cruz, a Godinez High School student, told the Los Angeles Times. “I’m the oldest one out of my siblings and cousins, and I’ll be the first one on this journey of going to college.”