Previous Editions of The Bruin's Eye » Underclassmen: Take Action!

Underclassmen: Take Action!

Underclassmen picture

Teens stand together, looking into their future.

Photograph by Melissa Askew.

Attention All Underclassmen: Take Action NOW!

By Hugo Rosiles and Abraham Carrillo 

    Ingrained in each student’s mind is the belief that college is the goal after high school. For the younger generation, it has been easier than ever to influence their future by filling their heads with ideas, career choices, scholarships, and financial advice while they still have a few years of high school left. This abundant stockpiling of information can be too much for the average freshman or sophomore to keep track of. The best course of action is to simplify college concepts, such as “the ways to pay for college” to “choosing a career path,” to make it easier for underclassmen to understand. Let The Bruin’s Eye lighten the burden that is preparing for college and highlight the many shortcuts they can take to the “ultimate goal” of college. 

What’s Required Now? 

As students at Greenfield High School, we must do the A-G requirements to be eligible for college. The A-G requirements are a list of subjects that you are recommended to take in high school, such as for English you need 3 years required, and 4 years are recommended to look good on college applications. Emilio Guerrero, a College Facilitator for U.C . Santa Cruz told reporters from The Bruin’s Eye, “The A-G courses are a set of classes you have to take to be eligible for the University of California and California State University.” The GPA requirements for the UCs and the CSUs vary. For UCs, a student needs a minimum GPA of 3.0, and for CSU it is 2.5. Now students can take more classes for each subject, and Emilio highly recommends, “Take as many A-G classes as you can as it will make it so much easier to get into colleges.” These requirements usually have a diverse array of classes a student can take to fulfill them. For example, the math requirement can be satisfied by simple classes, such as regular Math 1 and 2, but they can branch out into more challenging ones, such as Math Honors, Statistics, and AP Calculus. Therefore, taking as many challenging classes as possible will increase your chances of entering a good school. So, if students maintain good grades and receive their necessary credits, they should be able to meet the requirements necessary to get accepted into a college.  

    However, credits aren't the only factor at play in your acceptance letter. Extracurriculars, in some cases, can make a big difference in a student’s application. These activities include sports such as basketball, cross-country, baseball, volleyball, cheerleading, and more. If a student is not much of an athlete, they will be pleased to know Greenfield High still contains a wide array of clubs, like Physics, Robotics, and the Spanish club to keep them engaged after school. Apart from these activities being entertaining, these help students get into colleges. Colleges are interested in applicants who are active in their communities. According to the College Board website, where many Advanced Placement students can access their test scores or AP Classroom, it’s important to let colleges know what other skills students possess outside of class. They want to know what makes students unique, and that doing extracurricular activities, depending on the college which focuses more on sports over their clubs and vice versa, will help with that. Another important thing that students can do now is work on getting those community hours. Now community hours are not required for college applications, but they have their needs. For example, students need 20 hours of community service to graduate from Greenfield High School as it is stated in the handbook, and that’s the main thing you need to apply for high school. Another use for the hours is for scholarships a.k.a FREE MONEY!!! Scholarship donors are like the college looking at a student’s involvement in extracurricular activities. The Scholarship donors want to ensure that the money they are donating to a student will be used and not let it go to waste on a student who won’t be dedicated to their future. Students preparing themselves academically for college is important as it defines the level of college a student can attend. 

Underclassmen infographic

Finances and Scholarship Programs 

While academics and extracurriculars are important to guarantee entrance into college, students who prepare themselves financially will defeat the tedious problem of paying school tuition. However, many students think they are unable to attend college because they are afraid that they won’t be able to afford it, despite being unaware of the vast array of options they have. If you ask current freshmen and sophomores of Greenfield High School, the most common response would be that they would start saving up their money. Sophomore Fabian Serrano from Greenfield High School told The Bruin’s Eye that after high school he plans on going straight to a 4-year university. Now, for Fabian’s goal to be accomplished, he needs to find a way to pay for college tuition. When reporters at The Bruin’s Eye asked Fabian how he planned to pay for college, he said, “I attempt to pay for college with money I have saved up from high school and from working.” Now by no means is this a bad idea, hypothetically, you can pay for college tuition and attend the school, but it isn’t the best idea. Currently, it is easier than ever to find options to pay for school. The most helpful option, considering some students’ situations, is the California DREAM Act. 

    According to the official California Student Aid Commission, a subsidy of the Californian government, the DREAM Act allows undocumented students, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, and some U Visa Holders to “receive certain types of financial aid such as private scholarships funded through public universities, state-administered financial aid, university grants, community college fee waivers, and Cal Grants.” Considering the circumstances in which some GHS students arrived in the US, filling out the DREAM Act application is a valid option for many students who might feel helpless in a country that doesn’t recognize them. If instead, a student wishes for a more “local” source of aid after high school, they can always try applying for the Salinas Valley Promise. If a student in the Salinas Valley meets the incredibly low bar requirements needed, then he or she gains the benefits of 2 FREE years of in-state tuition at Hartnell College, a free laptop, and access to various groups and programs such as their Student Success Workshops. 

    And if that wasn’t enough, the Community Foundation for Monterey County, a group that aids the public of Monterey with grants, scholarships, and the such, describes on their website that they offer “a wide range of giving options including donor-advised funds, gifts of real estate or complex assets and life-income gifts.” The option that future graduates can take advantage of is their scholarship applications, which other than having a longer deadline than local scholarship applications given by Greenfield High. There is a wide 70+ array of scholarships ranging from 500 to 17,000 dollars, considering you meet the criteria. Taking these options into consideration, a student’s financial cost of school tuition should be the least of their problems. 

Student Resources at GHS 

Despite the plethora of information that is handed to underclassmen about college, the most important thing to do when working with one is to reassure them that they still have plenty of time to choose their future. It’s best to take their time in preparing for college or other future endeavors. If a student is unsure, they should realize that Greenfield High offers a wide array of resources that can help them pick and choose their interests, which will hopefully influence their future career. 

    Some clubs and programs that all students have at their disposal are ETS (Educational Talent Search), AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), and CSF (California Scholarship Federation). Michelle Carrillo, a sophomore at Greenfield High School, told The Bruin’s Eye what she knew about ETS and CSF. “I know that CSF is to show that you are top of the class during graduation with a gold sash. I know ETS is a program that helps high school students apply to colleges, and they help you apply to financial aid, and they check on you to see if you are doing good in school and on track to graduate.” It has been made clear that although some students have a basic understanding of these programs, there is still much that is left to know about them. All three of them specialize in getting you prepared for college and university, and they are good to be a part of. ETS helps you with your college applications, takes you on field trips to different college campuses and all this helps you determine what you want to do in college. AVID helps as a tutor for you. They help you with homework as well as give you an idea of what college is about in terms of taking notes and homework that you can potentially see in college. Under the guidance of Mrs. Barron, CSF helps you look for scholarships that you are eligible to apply for. There are also exclusive scholarships that come with you being in CSF. Students shouldn't feel stressed when it comes to what they can do after high school, they must always keep in mind to stay calm, and everything will work out in the end.