July 18, 2019

College Bound Academy prepares students for journey to higher education

While many incoming high school seniors in Southern California started their summer on vacation or sitting by the pool taking a break from their studies, participants in our annual College Bound Academy spent two weeks preparing for their path to college.

Including admissions and financial aid workshops, campus visits to the Claremont Colleges, guest speakers and training from Disneyland marketing professionals, the program was packed with opportunities for participating students to gain inspiration, build skills, connect with peers and start their journey to higher education.

Angela Segura and Cyan Erdita connected with us to share on their experience.

TGR Foundation: How did you learn about College Bound Academy?
Angela Segura: I got the invitation by mail, and I saw everything that it was going to cover. It made me realize that there’s a lot of help that I am going to need to utilize so I took advantage of the opportunity, and I don’t regret it.

Cyan Erdita: My grandma signed me up for College Bound Academy. Even though this meant I’d have to wake up early every day for two weeks, I knew I’d gain valuable college information.

The students partake in daily icebreakers, to help get them acquainted and practice those ever-important soft skills.

TGRF: Which elements of College Bound Academy were most beneficial to you?
AS: A particular session that stood out to me was the scholarship one because I have spent my whole summer looking into scholarships, and it provided the help that I needed. Another fun experience was getting to hear the marketing director from Disneyland, Susana Carranza. Hearing her story made me look into college differently with an open mind and inspired me to think differently toward out-of-state colleges. Her experience made me believe that anyone can work at extraordinary places like Disneyland.

CE: The sessions that stood out for me were the campus visits; those were the first college campuses I’ve ever visited. It was really eye-opening to see the lifestyle students can have there, and the buildings were really nice.

A visit to the Claremont Colleges gives students a feel for campus life. For many, it’s the first visit to an actual college campus.

TGRF: What skills did you gain during College Bound Academy?
AS: College Bound Academy was able to help me have an open mind during the two weeks, and I think that’s a skill I learned.

CE: I learned how to apply for scholarships and financial aid, and I learned how to professionally present myself to someone including emails, handshakes and more.

Over the course of two weeks, students took a deep dive to learn more about all aspects of the college application process, from personal statement tips to financial aid literacy.

TGRF: What activities did you participate in that allowed you to push past your comfort zone?
AS: An activity during CBA that got me out of my comfort zone was speaking out when no one would participate in the first couple of days. It is still difficult at times, but it’s a work in process.

CE: Definitely applying for scholarships made me feel uncomfortable because it was a lot of extra thinking and work on top of getting into college.

TGRF: What did you enjoy most about College Bound Academy?
AS: My experience at College Bound Academy was phenomenal, I got to meet new people, have new experiences, and I got to feel safe where I stand with my problems about college.

CE: Something fun I experienced was making new friends and riding the rides with them at Disneyland.

The group visited Disneyland and participated in the Youth Education Series (Y.E.S.) program, where they spent the day in the “Marketing the Story of Your Visual Brand” workshop.

TGRF: How has College Bound Academy influenced your path to higher education?
AS: I will still, of course, feel scared, stressed, nervous and excited about the process of college, however, now I feel more secure about my insecurities towards college. My plans for college are to attend a university, whether it be public or private, that offers a major in illustration. I also plan on applying to numerous scholarships, maybe some internships, or possibly a job along the way.

CE: At first, I was going to go to a community [college] for two years then transfer out, but now I want to try and directly get into a four-year university. I’m still nervous about applying, but I know if I try my best, I’ll make it somewhere.

Redefining what it means to be a champion.