Nogales High School getting students to college through a new club

Nogales, AZ | Submitted by Ivan Carillo

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At Nogales High School in southern Arizona, the community is very close knit. Most of their students are Hispanic and many face a wide variety of challenges, including poverty and language barriers. Despite this, students are driven to succeed and the school offers programs ranging from Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses to clubs, summer learning opportunities and more.

To help students progress beyond high school, Nogales High launched a University Club. At first, the club sought simply to organize university tours and encourage students to apply. But the club’s organizers quickly realized students needed more guidance on their path to postsecondary education. After all, according to the Arizona Education Progress Meter, 55% of Arizona high schoolers enroll in postsecondary education after graduation. A goal has been set to improve that to 70% by 2030.

The University Club’s founders, a student and his counselor, created a roadmap to success. This guide helped students to focus on their path and laid out what they needed to accomplish to get there. For instance, sophomores are encouraged to list 20 colleges or universities that they’re interested in and whittle that list to 10 by their senior year. At least one application to an in-state school is included in the checklist, and they even share these via social media to generate excitement.

To keep the momentum, the club holds weekly meetings. They host special guests, discuss upcoming checklist items, review new scholarship or learning opportunities, and more. The club has even set up mentoring groups that meet together weekly to help students stay on track and get answers to questions.

And the benefits of the club haven’t gone unnoticed. There are currently 150 members, with a waiting list to join. This will be the first year with the roadmap guide and mentoring in place, so it’s sure to grow even more in the future. After all, high school is only the first step to the rest of their life.

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