By Kalysta Frost
Summit Shasta’s mission is to prepare students for success in college.
Senior year can be a very tough year because of college applications and the college admissions process as a whole. One way Summit Shasta helps their students get ready for college is the College Readiness Expeditions course, which is mandatory for junior students.
College Readiness teachers Keith Brown and Amber Fields discussed what the College Readiness class at Summit Shasta looks like.
Mr. Brown explained, “The four projects that the students cover are number one: what students want to do with their life; number two: how colleges handle admissions; number three: financial aid; and number four: resumes and personal statements.”
Ms. Fields said a bit more about what students are learning: “Right now, we’re designing a life plan in order to help students think about future goals for themselves.”
She continued, “They are also learning how to be the most competitive component and being more confident in their beliefs.”
Shasta junior Julian Caneda-Santos and senior Parmvir Siryh shared their experience taking College Readiness.
Caneda-Santos shared, “It’s been helpful. Before this class, I didn’t know what to major in.” She added, “It’s helped me with knowing what the application will ask and knowing how to get financial aid.”
Siryh shared, “Yes, I have a much stronger base of understanding college. We had our college list done by the end of last year.”
Both College Readiness teachers said that during their classes students are generally doing more work than listening to lectures.
Ms. Fields explained, “This round is more focused on work for college. For round 1, there were definitely more lectures.”
Mr. Brown shared why he thought this class is mandatory for junior students: “A whole year of prep for students can make applications easier.”
The College Readiness class has a lot of pros to it, but a class can’t be perfect.
Ms. Fields shared that she met a couple of senior students last year who said that the class didn’t completely help with their college process and that they needed more help with their applications.
Ms. Fields expressed, “The class is more focused on four-year universities. Not focusing on other options. Not being able to take it a step further.”
Caneda-Santos and Siryh explained more about how the mentor system at Shasta also helps with their college process.
Caneda-Santos said that she meets and talks with her mentor about college every two weeks.
Siryh shared, “We started talking about the college process during freshman year. It really started to pick up during junior year.” Siryh continued, “I talk about college with my mentor every day.”
Shasta senior mentor Anu Pattabiraman explained how she helps her students get ready for college.
Ms. Pattabiraman said that her students had a different mentor during their freshman and sophomore year, but she believes that their past mentor also talked a little bit about college with them. She stated that she talked to them more seriously about college during junior year and that she talks to her senior mentees right now about college at least once a week.
Ms. Pattabiraman shared, “Last year we started talking about what majors they’re interested in and what college they want to go to.”
Ms. Pattabiraman also gave her mentees last year deadlines to sign up for the SAT. Ms. Pattabiraman said that this year she helps them figure out where they want to apply, as well as assisting them with recommendation letters and revising and brainstorming college essays.
When asked if he thought that if he went to a different high school that he would get as much help in preparing for college, Siryh answered, “Not at all, no way. It would be really hard to understand the college process. This school gets you understanding the SAT.”
When asked if she thought that her mentees would bring with them habits of success while they’re in college, Ms. Pattabiraman said, “I think every mentee is developing habits. They will develop habits once they get there and are independent.”