I Heart College
Students from our drop-in and alternative education programs with the highest participation rates are invited to join our alumni program, and students are enrolled when they opt in. They choose whether or not they want to participate and how much they want to participate because every student’s needs are different and being in college doesn’t change that. Once enrolled, we continue to support them the way we did in high school, not by holding their hands and leading the way, but by reminding them of the relationships they initiated and built and of the resources that they made available to themselves: skills of a successful college student that they’ve already practiced!
Before I Heart College students leave for their first year of college, incoming college freshmen, CAP staff, CAP alumni, community partners, and volunteers come together and address the issues that our students run into when transitioning to college. Workshops are governed by alumni input, and our alumni play a vital role in modeling successful college student traits and skills when sharing information and experiences. Incoming freshmen are able to get answers to their questions from and voice their concerns to alumni, who came from the same high schools they attended. This summit is as much for the incoming freshmen as it is for our alumni, who enjoy the opportunity to give back to their community and who are in different stages of college persistence.
Care Packages, Cards, and Check-ins
Who doesn’t like getting packages and cards in the mail? Our students certainly do, and we love to send them encouragement through the mail. These goodies are strategically timed for midterms and finals and serve as reminders to students that there are people cheering as they pursue their goals. Whether our alumni are near or far, commuting or not -- they will receive a package or handwritten notes reminding them that I Heart College is one big family.
After curating college lists, completing college applications, reading and re-reading personal statements and scholarship essays, submitting FAFSA and Dream Act applications, and celebrating achievements and absorbing disappointments side-by-side with our students, we weren’t going stop supporting them just because they were headed to college. Nope! We are just as committed to helping our students succeed in college as we were to everything that came before. We’re always only a call, text, or email away. If they need help and don’t yet know where else to find it, our students can count on CAP to make the transition a little easier. And, if they’re excited or proud, they know where to find us, and they know we love to celebrate them.
Starting college can be daunting, and even though CAP is virtually there, sometimes you need someone to turn to physically, to hang out with, to walk you to the financial aid office. Through our partnership with SoCal CAN, our students can sign up for Level Up, a free student networking program. First year students attend a summer training where they are introduced to other first year students attending their college and assigned an Ambassador, an older student at their college who hails from a similar community. Just like that, they’re given a network that they can build upon.
Once enrolled in I Heart College, graduating seniors are invited to apply to scholarships made available by the California Masonic Foundation, The All Ways Up Foundation, and the Altadena Chamber of Commerce. Together, these partnerships provide opportunities for students attending both community and four-year colleges to bridge the college affordability divide. Most scholarships are renewable for up to 4 years, demonstrating a collaborative investment in our students’ persistence.
Want to know more about I Heart College?
MEET OUR STUDENT ADVISORY COUNCIL
CAP's student advisors are active members of our I Heart College Program who wish to support their home community in meaningful ways through advising CAP's staff and board, helping them to be responsive to student needs, and by providing insight, expertise, and mentorship to younger CAP students as they navigate the college readiness process. They are all leaders who attend a variety of colleges throughout California and the country and who commit to a one-year term on the Student Advisory Council.