For many teens, college is an abstraction. They've heard of it, planned for it, dreamed about it.
But often they wonder: Have I done enough? Last month, higher education became tangible for 45 Rubidoux High seniors who earned "On the spot admissions" when a recruiter from California State University, Stanislaus met with them at RHS.
"This validates them," said Mrs. Leticia Mellin, guidance coordinator at Rubidoux High. "It says, 'Yes, you are able to go to college. You are on the right track.'"
The idea took shape last year, after Mrs. Mellin spoke with CSU Stanislaus representatives at a counselors conference. Based on that connection, Rubidoux was the first-ever school in Jurupa Valley and the surrounding region to hold an "On the spot admissions" event.
In 2015, 34 RHS students were admitted "On the spot." Ten of those teens enrolled at CSU Stanislaus, with majors ranging from nursing to psychology to agricultural biology. Based on that success, this year the event branched to 13 area schools, including Patriot High.
CSU Stanislaus offers a good fit because in many ways, it mirrors Rubidoux High and Jurupa Valley, Mrs. Mellin said. "It's a small school, similar to our school, where everyone knows each other. It's almost like a family feeling. The nurturing and extra work they do for our kids is amazing."
This year, RHS teachers and guidance coordinators broadly promoted the new program, and helped identify candidates for the honor. To qualify for "On the spot admissions," students had to meet CSU entrance requirements, including coursework in math, English, history, science, the arts, and an additional language.
The event was held in the RHS library, where Mr. Miguel Pulido of CSU Stanislaus greeted the undergraduates-to-be, stressed the value of a college degree, and fielded students' questions on athletics, scholarships, financial aid, housing and more.
"You should have seen the faces of the kids when they were in there," said Mrs. Mellin. "They were full of joy, pride and confidence. It just felt great that they got their first college acceptance." After the session, other students cheered and applauded their peers as they returned to class, she said.
The partnership with CSU reflects a larger culture at Jurupa Unified that promotes college planning and lifelong learning. Teachers, guidance coordinators and staff cooperatively emphasize college and career preparation – and help students believe they can succeed at a university and beyond.
After years of encouragement, hard work, and planning, students find "On the spot admissions" so powerful because an independent expert – in this case, a college recruiter – ratifies the message they've heard all along.
Said Mrs. Mellin: "This makes it real."