By Joyce Liang
Castro Valley High School students and parents gathered in the Auxiliary Gym Thursday, April 11 for College Night to listen to various speakers discuss topics ranging from financial aid to admission requirements. The one-hour introduction was devoted to presentations regarding the California State University (CSU), University of California (UC), and Community College systems, followed by a second hour of seminars.
The overview portion of the evening began with speaker Jean-Paul Nguyen from Cal State University East Bay (CSUEB), who described the many aspects of the CSU system. Nguyen provided basic information about A-G course requirements and the eligibility index (GPA, ACT, and SAT scores), as well as how to apply to a CSU. He concluded with the average cost of attendance (tuition + housing), which is estimated at a total of $22,792. Throughout his presentation, Nguyen emphasized the importance of early preparation.
The second speaker was Kaitlyn Flannery, UC Merced’s admission officer, who opened her presentation with a list of the ten UC campuses, including but not limited to Davis, Berkeley, Irvine, and Los Angeles. Flannery gave suggestions for prospective applicants and key points to keep in mind.
“UCs are always looking for students going above and beyond the course requirements,” said Flannery.
She went on to describe the importance of personal statements and how they are viewed as “interviews on paper.”
The final presentation was given by Chris Lee, representing Las Positas College and the Community College system. Since many students have the option of transferring to a CSU or UC after two years at a community college, Lee spent a majority of her time on minimum transfer prep requirements. For example, one must have taken at least 60 transferable units in order to transfer to a four-year college.
“Let’s say you don’t get into your first choice. A community college is like a second chance, a clean slate,” said Lee, demonstrating the opportunities a community college has to offer.
After the introductory presentations, audience members were given the option to select two of six available workshops. Many students and parents alike felt they learned a great deal of valuable information from the seminars offered at College Night, which included Financial Aid, SAT vs. ACT, College Search, Student Athletes, information about private schools, and The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE).
“The Financial Aid seminar definitely helped me learn about more possible ways to pay for college, like FAFSA and grants, now that college is getting more and more expensive,” said Jon Wong, one of the many juniors who attended the event.
Sophomore Maya Para also felt as though she took away useful information.
“The SAT/ACT seminar gave me helpful information on which one to take and how to prepare and use those scores to get into college,” said Para.
Students were not only ones who gained essential advice.
“I have been searching for workshops to get information and help facilitate my daughter’s college application process since she will be graduating next year. I liked how College Night offered several sessions to choose from like Financial Aid or WUE, especially since my daughter is considering going to school out of state,” said Mary Sanchez, parent of junior Nangha Cuadros.
“I actually got a lot more out of College Night than I thought I would. I even learned about other programs I haven’t heard of such as WUE, and more information about financial aid. College Night really provided a lot of new information that I will definitely use to ease my college application process,” said Cuadros.