Members of the University of Colorado Board of Regents were moved and inspired by first-hand stories of success from CU students who graduated from the CU Pre-Collegiate Program.
During Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Regents at the University of Colorado Boulder, students from each campus relayed how the program helped them not only prepare for college scholastically, but to learn leadership skills, gain confidence and make lifelong connections and friends.
Gerardo said students with his background were once written off. “The programs of CU Denver and the CU system have given us self-esteem to go forward and become leaders in our community, in our state and in our country.”
“If it weren’t for this program, I was so shy, I wouldn’t be here. I’d probably be under a table,” Jennifer, CU-Boulder, told the regents.
Veronica said she did not receive good advice from her high school counselors, but found the support she needed through the pre-collegiate program. “It’s amazing to me that I can be a role model now to my younger sister. It has helped me realize my dream of being a high school counselor.”
Chris Pacheco, director of the pre-collegiate program at CU-Boulder, and directors of the programs at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and the University of Colorado Denver, spoke to the regents on how first-generation students are helped in finding a path to higher education.
The program, launched at CU-Boulder in 1983 and expanded to the system in 1987, is an academic enrichment and college preparatory program designed to motivate and prepare first-generation students to pursue their higher educational goals.
“Our philosophy is to challenge the students and they will rise to meet the challenge,” Pacheco said.
The program has served 886 middle school students and 1,794 high school students. The students are first-generation, meaning that neither parent has received a bachelor’s degree or higher.
“We do some very basic things,” Pacheco said. The program provides students with:
“We teach them note taking, time management . . . we teach the skills they need to be successful,” Pacheco said. “We also teach them, what’s their best fit for the student. Sometimes it’s not the University of Colorado. When the student continues on to college, we consider that a success.”
The program establishes partnerships and collaborations with parents, schools and the community. “We provide parents with tools and programming to assist in the educational endeavors of their children,” he said. “It’s not just the student going through the transition of going into college, it’s the family.
“The pre-collegiate program shows that the university has a true investment in our students, in education and our communities.”