If you’ve read the “About” section on this blog you know that I myself am a first-generation and low-income college student.
A goal of mine for this blog is to focus on the experiences of other students on each post but this post will be an exception because as a change I will be talking about my experience. I will touch on several past posts and add how I personally relate to the topic.
Going away to college is a big step for anyone. It means shedding out of your comfort zone and being exposed to new surroundings. It hits harder being a first-generation student because our parents are not able to guide us through the process.
First-generation students in the Educational Opportunity Program at Cal Poly are given the opportunity to attend a program called Summer Institute. It usually runs through the end of July to the middle of August. They stay in on-campus apartments, take a General Education course and attend supplemental workshops. The program also includes activities that helps them get familiar with San Luis Obispo. The program is held every summer. This last summer, 89 incoming EOP freshmen got to attend. The 2013 program ran from July 27 – August 20th. This year’s theme was DC superheroes with the motto being “Made of Steel.” The Summer Institute Program Coordinator and Program Assistants are in charge of the program.
“The purpose of Summer Institute is to help out students transition to college,” Jon Diaz, Summer Institute Program Assistant said.
College can be a scary and confusing place. Having a support system on campus is important. At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and at every other California State University there is the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). EOP is under Cal Poly’s Student Academic Services which provides educational resources to students that can help them succeed.Students can apply for EOP after they finish applying to the CSU(s) (including Cal Poly SLO) of their choice . Part of the criteria to be eligible for EOP is to be an “educational disadvantaged student” or first-generation student and be low-income.
Once a student is accepted into the EOP program then they become connected with their EOP advisor. It helps them transition from high school to college and gives them support throughout their college years. There are six advisors, one for each college at Cal Poly. The slideshow below gives an insight look at a day in Cal Poly’s EOP offices.
Click on the first picture to start the slideshow.
Advisors can be found at the EOP offices in Hillcrest, Building 81. Hillcrest is also the home for the offices of the other Student Academic Services programs on campus. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
In the lobby, there are brochures for students to take. The brochures give information about the EOP academic advisors and programs within SAS. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
Christy Pedraza, fifth-year student, in the lobby waiting to see EOP Academic Advisor Maria Arvizu-Rodriguez. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
Jon Diaz, EOP Academic Advisor for Orfalea of College of Business, getting to know second-year student Adriana Jimenez. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
Mayte Solis, EOP Academic Advisor for the College of Math and Science getting some work done before she sees students during her office hours. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
Jose Millan, EOP Academic Advisor for the College of Engineering, listening to first-year student Sarah Thomas talk about how her quarter is going so far. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
Maria Arvizu-Rodriguez, EOP Academic Advisor for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Services, advises third-year Bernabe Rabadan how many course units to take.Photo by Melissa Nunez.
The advisor’s EOP offices extend to the Kennedy Library, Room 112 to SAS’ Academic Skills Center. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
Sarah Clarke, EOP Academic Advisor for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, takes a minute away from working and waiting for students during her office hours. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
Finishing up her office hours, Katie Ellis, EOP Academic Advisor for the College of Liberal Arts, ends her workday by checking her email. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
“We want to ensure that the student does not just get admitted but are successful so they are able to obtain their degree. As advisors we really care about our students we want to ensure that they are utilizing us not just for academic advising but sometimes if there’s personal issues it’s always good for them to know that there will always be someone that will be able to listen to you” – Jose Millan, EOP Academic Advisor for the College of Engineering.
“As a first-generation student it is even harder because you don’t know what to expect so having someone you can come to with any question is the best part of EOP.” – Katie Ellis, EOP Academic Advisor for the College of Liberal Arts said.