October 28, 2019

College Access, Success Symposium empowers educators at flagship TGR Learning Lab

Visitors entering the doors of the flagship TGR Learning Lab on Thursday, October 24 shifted from eager fifth-graders heading toward the end of their week in the Day Program to dedicated educators excited to gain information, connections and resources to better prepare their students for success. The 5thannual College Access and Success Symposium united educators across Southern California and beyond.

With more than 15 sessions to choose from the symposium covered a variety of higher education-related topics from applications and admissions to understanding financial aid and empowering students to stand out.  Many sessions were at full capacity as more than 150 educators in attendance filled classrooms.

In a session about the ACT and SAT tests, participants review requirements and options to help students prepare and understand which test aligns with their colleges of interest.

“We got to learn about different opportunities that students in our area have for [accessing] higher education and not just that but different strategies that we can utilize, as educators, to help empower them, said Josh Perez, who is part of California State University, Fullerton’s GEAR UP program.

In addition to the sessions, participants had the opportunity to attend a college fair during lunch featuring colleges from local and national universities including Pomona College, Santa Ana College, University of New Mexico, Rice University and more.

Educators visit with a Syracuse University representative to learn more about their admissions and recruiting processes.

Lisa Rockwell, a seasoned Savanna High School counselor, took advantage of the time to connect with representatives and recruit speakers for future college events at her school.

“We all should be using this day for networking, which I did,” she said. “I visited all of the college tables; I really got a lot of materials from all of our college reps and made connections.”

Having attended a previous symposium, Lisa was pleased with the sessions offered and gained several insights she could share with colleagues that weren’t able to attend.

The first time I was here I found that it was really about college applications for liberal arts and independent colleges; that was really good for me,” she said. “This time I really liked that it was not necessarily focused on that. It was more focused on general [applications]. Everybody could leave with lots of different things. As a seasoned counselor for Anaheim Union, I think that was really needed by all the counselors for Anaheim Union.”

Representatives from the University of Southern California (USC)College Advising Corps lead a presentation on Understanding and Helping First-Generation Students.

Whether gaining information about standardized testing, student stress, financial aid or supporting first-generation students and families, the symposium was designed to meet the needs of educators working with students every day.

“In my favorite session we discussed how admissions committees admit or make decisions on which students to take in,” added Perez. “It helped expose a lot of things that students and even faculty have about the admissions process and different things we can do to advise our students on how to best utilize their resources or ease their fears or concerns about different parts of the post-secondary education application process. It was a very educational session and I’m very grateful for the opportunity I had to come.”

Earl Woods Scholar Alumna and University of California, Irvine counselor, Bianca Angeles leads a session on how to help first-generation college students be successful during their freshman year.

The College Access and Success Symposium is hosted annually, alternating in location between Southern California and Washington, D.C. In addition to the symposium, TGR Foundation offers several opportunities and resources to help educators empower their students through education. More resources are available through TGREDUExplore.org. For more information on education programs and upcoming events visit TGR Foundation.org.

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