From the archives: March 09 Select San Francisco high schoolers attend The Urban School of San Francisco for its college prep curriculum and a focus on future success. With its campus tradition of College Tours, Aim High’s summer program at the Urban School draws upon the school’s college-preparatory focus to provide high-need middle school kids a taste of college life. Each year, scores of AH-Urban students venture out to Bay Area colleges and universities – including SF State, UC Berkeley, San Francisco University, Academy of Art University, and more – to learn about the college experience. The day begins with a diverse panel of college graduates, representing different backgrounds, careers, and experiences of the road to college and beyond. “We ask our community to reach out and find people in their lives who have an interesting story to tell,” says Site Director Thomas Jacquez. After the panel, groups of 20-25 students travel with their teachers to various university campuses in San Francisco and the East Bay. Students tour the campus, check out classrooms, visit with students in the quad or student center, and get a feel for college life. Throughout the day, students are encouraged to practice asking good questions. “Our kids often join up with the admitted freshmen on the official campus tour,” says Jacquez, “and the incoming college students tell us they learn a lot from the questions our kids ask.” Once returned to campus, Aim High students enjoy a celebratory feast and make presentations to share what they learned to students who visited other universities. For middle school students, many of whom may not believe that college is an option, an experience like AH-Urban’s College Tours Day is eye-opening. “The tours increase awareness,” says Jacquez. “They start talking about it. They find out what steps they need to take.” Ultimately, Aim High Urban hopes that students will begin to see themselves as future college students. “The goal,” says Jacquez, “is to make students aware that college is accessible to them.” To find out how you can support college awareness and accessibility at Aim High, contact Sandra Lee at (415) 551-2330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.