UC Offers Conference for Counselors

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An ongoing UC conference starting tomorrow aims to address a common problem among high schools throughout the state-counselors that lack information on UC admissions.

Starting in the UC Irvine campus, the conference will travel through five other locations, including UC Berkeley this Saturday. Six thousand counselors are expected to participate in this annual event.

The conference is designed to help counselors better understand what UCs are looking for and will focus on how to aid students applying under comprehensive review, an admissions policy first implemented on this year's college freshman class.

"Counselors are one of the most important sources of getting information to California students," said UC spokesperson Hanan Eisenman. "They are instrumental in getting students to think of UC as a real option."

At Berkeley High School, where there are only seven counselors for 3,200 students, it is difficult to give students the personal attention each student deserves, said Berkeley High College advisor, Rory Bled.

"I think that they are trying really hard and they are doing the best they can," said Berkeley High School senior Ashley Howard. "But they are faced with an impossible demand to have everything done instantly."

Berkeley High School counselor Elizabeth Sandberg said high school counselors often lack sufficient resources to efficiently prepare their students for college.

Admission officers at the conferences will look at sample UC applications and provide in-depth information on how universities admit students through the comprehensive review process.

Under the year-old policy, all applications are reviewed based on extracurricular activities, personal background and life challenges in addition to their grades and standardized test scores.

Participants at the conference will be able to ask questions of representatives from all nine UC undergraduate campuses. The conference also provides participants with the opportunity to network.

Representatives from ACT and the College Board will give presentations on standardized tests.

By informing minorities about UC academic requirements and encouraging students to apply to the universities, Eisenman said, the conferences may also increase underrepresented minority enrollment

"It's going to be a great opportunity for people who advise their students to learn a lot about the university," Eisenman said. "Hopefully, the main point of these conferences (is to) build a college-going culture in all areas of California."

The conferences will feature workshops and discussion sessions about UC requirements, admissions, financial aid and personal statements as well as other pertinent subjects for counselors, according to a statement from the UC Office of the President.

Earlier this month, Gov. Gray Davis recently signed a bill that seeks to ensure high school students can effectively access information regarding UC admissions requirements. It also seeks to ensure educators meet their responsibilities in preparing students for college.

The bill requires, among other things, that school districts maintain accurate lists of courses that are currently offered by the high schools and are certified by UC as meeting admission requirement criteria.


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