In proposals submitted at the College Opportunity Summit, Pitzer
College and Scripps College presidents committed to creating closer ties with community-based organizations (CBOs) in
an effort to make their campuses more diverse.
During their travels across the United States to visit high schools and speak with prospective applicants, Pitzer admissions counselors visit local CBOs that provide college
counseling for low-income and first-generation students. Just last year, Pitzer partnered with College Greenlight, which gives colleges and universities access to a directory of CBOs across the country.
“Pitzer has had a long history with this, but I think we are being more strategic and intentional about it,” said Angel Perez, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid at Pitzer.
He said that Pitzer has admitted students through its early decision program this year who applied as a result of visits to CBOs.
Once the entire class of 2018 is finalized, Pitzer will evaluate how many admitted students were involved with the College Greenlight program.
In the fall, Pitzer will implement an optional orientation program for first-generation students through which they can meet faculty and staff members while also hearing from juniors and seniors about their experiences as first-generation students.
Other college access programs that have partnered with Pitzer include AVID, Pomona High School MECHA, Bright Prospects, and Summer Science Program, most of which target low-income or first-generation students.
College Academy (SCA), a program that is in its 12th year, organizes faculty and staff mentoring to prepare female high school students from the greater Los Angeles area for college. Students participate in a residential program on campus during the summer followed by monthly events throughout the high school year.
“Scripps College Academy is both an effort to
partner with local schools and community based organizations and to put its own
resources behind helping to prepare local middle, and high school students for
success in college and beyond,” SCA Director Robert Escobar wrote in an email to TSL.
Escobar said that SCA works with students from more than 50 high schools. Since the first graduating class of 2005, approximately 30 SCA participants have attended the Claremont Colleges, including Pitzer, Pomona College, Claremont McKenna College,
Mayra Gradilla PO ’14 was enrolled in SCA from the summer of 2008 through 2010.
“You come in, work with professors,
they teach classes and encourage you to participate, to say what
you think,” Gradilla said. “Having that experience made me feel comfortable and made me realize
I wanted to come to a liberal arts school, so that’s why I decided to come to
Pomona because I knew I would thrive at a smaller school.”
She said the program opened up opportunities and provided her with
confidence through workshops, free SAT classes, and other means of academic
“We’re so fortunate
that the Scripps College Academy is such a strong community on Scripps’ campus,” Escobar wrote. “Many SCA Scholars who attend Scripps choose to get involved with the
program as tutors, mentors, or academic facilitators. They also often
tend to be student leaders on campus in many other organizations.”