By Craig Giangiulio
This past Wednesday, Nov. 4, the College’s Lambda Theta Pi, a multicultural fraternity on campus offered Hispanic high school students throughout New Jersey a chance to see what college life is like. Prospective college students from all around the state were introduced to various components of the College that correlated with their academic, social and personal interests.
Members of Lambda Theta Pi and other student ambassadors showed the students around campus and talked with them openly and honestly about what life is like at the College during rotating roundtable discussions.
“It got me pretty excited, honestly,” said Julian, a junior at Trenton Central High School (TCHS) West in Trenton, N.J. “The College seems like a cool place. The whole tour, I kept picturing what it would be like if I went here. I’m interested in the engineering program, which I can already tell will be a challenge, having all those classes and labs.”
The program offered talks on a wide variety of subjects that prospective college students may be concerned with. An overview of the admissions process was given, as well as a session on financial aid and the accompanying applications. Each department offered its own seminar which students went to based on their desired field of study.
“There was a lot of stuff to write down,” said Manuel, a senior from TCHS West. “The teachers were easy enough to get along with, but still seemed engaging.”
Hispanic College Day at the College started in 1980 when Jose Maldonado, one of the co-founders of the Gamma Chapter of Lambda Theta Phi, channeled his concern for recruitment of Latino students to the College, which at the time was Trenton State College, into the creation of a program designed to educate young Latino students about the responsibilities associated with going to college. The program began as an exclusive opportunity for Hispanic high schools, but has since been opened to all schools, with Latino students still encouraged to participate.
Hispanic College Day has evolved into an annual tradition. Approximately 150 students, predominantly seniors and juniors with college aspirations, representing between five and 10 urban high schools and some youth programs, are invited to Hispanic College Day each year.
Students were given a chance to interact with members of several student leadership groups around campus. The Hispanic College Day program also emphasizes multiculturalism on the College’s campus. For seniors, there are “senior workshops” offered that are designed to provide the steps for applying for financial aid and to assist in the application process itself.
“I didn’t always think of college as a serious possibility for my future,” Julian said. “But hearing all those other kids and teachers talk about it made it seem like such a tangible thing.”