4 Programs Preparing a New Generation for College

July 12, 2016

Learn how UA is exposing underserved junior high and high school students to higher education.

The University of Arizona has created a number of programs to help underserved junior high and high school students overcome barriers to college and gain exposure to college majors and campus life. These four programs are opening doors for underrepresented students.

1. Arizona MESA: Hands-on Projects in Math and Science

Making their own ice cream, building mouse trap-powered cars, these are just a few of the things Arizona MESA students get to do. MESA, which stands for Math, Engineering, Science Achievement­­, was created to increase access to the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and improve college readiness for minority, low-income and first generation college-bound students in grades 6-12. MESA students also participate in various competitions, including the program’s signature event, MESA Day.

2. Med-Start: Preparing for a Health Career  

High school juniors who want to pursue careers in the health field should check out Med-Start. Created in 1969, this program aims to improve healthcare on Native American reservations and in other rural, economically disadvantaged areas by recruiting and training youth from those areas. Med-Start students get to live on campus for six weeks during the summer while participating in a college-level chemistry lab, hands-on presentations, lectures and more.

3. Native American Science and Engineering Program: Personalized Coaching in STEM Fields

NASEP is a free, year-long project that encourages Native American high school students to pursue STEM careers. Students receive one-on-one coaching and participate in interactive workshops, projects and family events. They even get the chance to build a computer, and if they succeed, they receive a free tablet to help with college preparations.

4. Native SOAR: Introduction to College Life Through Mentoring  

Native SOAR harnesses the power of mentoring. The program connects Native American high school students with UA students from similar backgrounds. High schools select high-achieving students who are interested in going to college. Once selected, students participate in one-on-one meetings with their mentors, take part in campus visits and attend workshops on how to prepare for college.