Green Dot Public Schools’ Students Inspired by College Tours

On May 18, ninth and tenth graders from Oscar de la Hoya Ánimo Charter High School (ODLH) took part in college tours to UC Riverside and UC San Diego as part of Green Dot Public Schools’ commitment to prepare its students not only to graduate high school, but to succeed in college, leadership, and life.

Many of Green Dot’s students arrive in high school with little consideration of their post-secondary options. Most will be the first in their family to attend college. As part of Green Dot’s unwavering belief in the potential of all students, whatever their circumstances or history, we enroll all ninth graders in college preparatory courses as standard and counselors begin working with students from day one to develop pathways towards their evolving goals and ambitions.

College Tours


College tours — which begin as early as sixth grade, to schools including University of California and California State University campuses, Loyola Marymount University, Whittier College, the University of Southern California, and two-year institutions such as Rio Hondo College and Santa Monica College — provide priceless opportunities for students to reimagine their own futures through first-hand experience of a range of post-secondary opportunities.

“My number one hope is to expose students to a college environment they have never been exposed to,” said ODLH counselor Erika Viramontes. “I hope that students get an opportunity to actually envision themselves as college students who are taking yet another step towards a better future for themselves, their family, and their community.”

The efforts pay off: ODLH sophomore Alexandra Gamboa came away from her tour of UC San Diego thinking she would like to go there. With ambitions of working in a crime lab, she was particularly excited by the science building. She said, “I’m thinking of applying there and going over the summer to look at the whole campus.” It helped that her tour leader, a UCSD student named Meghan, was a forensics major as well.

Sophomores Alfred Segura and Ricardo Perez both found the trip informative. Neither was convinced that UCSD was the right place for them, but both want to attend college after graduating. “It was definitely interesting, I’d take it into consideration,” Ricardo said. “I’m interested in psychology and neurology.” Ricardo has his sights set on Berkley. Alfred said he is eyeing UC Irvine’s School of Law. He would like to work in law enforcement and perhaps become a DEA agent.

Wherever the students choose to go, Green Dot is laying the solid groundwork of academic proficiency, confidence, and self-advocacy needed to get them there. Every Green Dot student is empowered to pursue their own path towards their long-term goals; an empowerment that starts with adults who believe in them. Each year, 91% of Green Dot graduates are accepted into college.

“This [experience] has motivated me to get into UC schools,” Alexandra said, noting she is already taking AP classes. “I feel like I am on a good path already.”


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