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Join us as we look at how our local students are

High school and college campuses are temporarily shuttered, but for our local college-bound students, the future is still wide open. One organization determined to help students navigate the college admissions process is Mission Scholars, a program of the Santa Barbara Education Foundation.

Mission Scholars provides high-achieving, economically disadvantaged students access to expert guidance on the path to four-year colleges. Their purpose is to help level the playing field by providing students with academic advising, mentorship, and college admissions counseling, along with the skills to thrive as college students.

To meet their Scholars’ needs during this challenging time, Mission Scholars has shifted its operation entirely online.

Here is what they’re providing each Scholar:

College Decision Meetings

Mission Scholars staff members are currently meeting virtually with seniors to help evaluate their options and make their final college decisions. After months of writing college essays, submitting college and scholarship applications, and waiting for college acceptances to arrive, these seniors are now in the driver’s seat: weighing their options and selecting their top choice school.

Watch the Mission Scholars Class of 2020 share their college acceptances!

Building College Lists and Introducing Virtual College Tours

Due to college campus closures, high school seniors aren’t able to attend “admitted student days” at the colleges that have accepted them. Moreover, high school juniors cannot visit colleges throughout the spring to help build their college lists. In addition to hosting virtual college list-building sessions with the Class of 2021 Scholars, Mission Scholars is encouraging students to participate in virtual campus tours through college admissions websites and third party sites like Campus Reel.

Let’s look at an example of a college tour at the University of Southern California!

Online SAT Class

Traditionally, spring is the time of year for standardized tests: the SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement exams, and more. A large part of the Mission Scholars program is ensuring its Scholars are prepared for the SAT. All juniors taking part in the Mission Scholars program enroll in an intensive 12-week standardized test prep course, taught by Dr. Kimani Williams of Tutoring Machines. Kimani has moved the class entirely online, hosting weekly Zoom sessions designed to help students master the material.

Summer Planning

High school students are adjusting to the possibility of limited summer opportunities during the pandemic. Many summer programs have shifted online, and local opportunities for jobs, internships, and volunteering may be scarce. Mission Scholars is meeting with its juniors to help them explore their summer opportunities and stay motivated and focused on their long-term college goals. Thanks to a partnership between Mission Scholars and UCSB’s Summer Sessions program, Mission Scholars’ students who are accepted into the highly-selective UCSB Research Mentorship and Science Research Academy programs will receive a scholarship to attend.