For some high schoolers, the path to college can be complicated by obstacles that limit their college options. Colgate in Focus, a diversity open house and special visit experience, seeks to help students who are overcoming challenges in their pursuit of post-secondary education.
Colgate hosted the three-day, two-night program last week for 68 talented high school seniors, many from low-income, first-generation, or other traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. Participants were selected from a record applicant pool of 382 students vying for the opportunity to visit campus and learn more about Colgate.
“The Colgate in Focus program provides a personal introduction to our community for students who have faced unique personal or historical challenges that may make them less likely to enroll at places like Colgate,” said Jamiere Abney, senior assistant dean of admission and coordinator of multicultural recruitment. “In offering a program that specifically attracts these students, Colgate is adhering to its values of engagement, inclusion, and inquiry.”
“I applied because I wanted the chance to feel my fit at a college that is so far from home,” said Jennifer Martinez, a high school senior from Texas.
Colgate in Focus programming was designed to do that and more. Students sat in on a class; toured campus; ate in the dining halls; and learned about the resources, services, and support available to them around campus. They stayed overnight in the residence halls with current students serving as hosts — and took part in a Brown Bag discussion, one of Colgate students’ favorite activities.
Alumnus Javier Calvo Mendoza ’12 delivered the event’s keynote address, encouraging students to have an open mind and a critical eye during their college search. He reflected on the new and distinctive experiences he had as a Colgate student and how those experiences continue to shape his life today.
“You will do great things no matter where you go,” Calvo Mendoza explained. “At Colgate, you will do them among friends and never strangers. You’ll do them among family, not only for four years, but for the rest of your lives.”
By the end of day three, participants had met with a number of students, faculty, and administrators from the university community and gained valuable first-hand experience to help them make their college decision. “It was a nice experience,” reflected high school senior Maxwell Young of Chicago. “Colgate in Focus gave me so much more insight than a normal campus visit.”