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TRIO Talent Search prepares high school students for college

ASU's newest college prep program assists students' transition through the academic pipeline

Students participate in ASU's TRIO program.

October 25, 2017

Every student deserves a chance to understand and pursue higher education. That is why TRIO Talent Search focuses on recognizing the potential in students while ensuring that they achieve their goal of higher education.

As the newest Arizona State University college preparation program, the purpose of TRIO Talent Search is to assist students’ transition and success through the academic pipeline from high school to post-secondary education, no matter their level of knowledge in higher education.

High school and middle school students are encouraged to pursue higher education and take the first step toward achieving this dream by joining the extensive TRIO family at ASU. Here students become part of a community dedicated to ensuring that they know where they are going, and have a better understanding of the college process.

TRIO Talent Search is a federal pre-college program developed to provide academic and support services for first-generation and/or low-income students interested in seeking higher education with the goal of earning a college degree.

ASU and the Tolleson Union High School District have partnered to offer the ASU TRIO Talent Search program to Tolleson students and families. The program provides academic support, university exposure and the necessary tools and resources to empower students to graduate high school ready to enroll and succeed in college.

TRIO Talent Search participant Savanna Ghaleb, a current senior at La Joya Community High School, is hoping to gain knowledge on the college process.

"As a first generation student, I struggle to know what to do on my own," Ghaleb said. "But having that guidance from someone experienced will help me be better prepared and know what to do.”

To meet the unique needs of each participant, Talent Search coaches create an individualized college preparation plan, recommend program activities and provide resources and support for every Talent Search student. Most Talent Search activities are offered during the school day, at the participant’s high school.

During the summer, TRIO Talent Search and Upward Bound partnered to offer their students a Summer Bridge Experience on June 23, at ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus. Talent Search director Carolina Luque Rodriguez said the Summer Bridge experience was important because it showed the program is part of a larger TRIO family at ASU.

“Coming together with our Upward Bound program, the Talent Search students got the chance to meet other TRIO students and understand that they’re not alone in this college readiness journey,” Luque said.

Approximately 150 Talent Search and 120 Upward Bound students participated in the Summer Bridge Experience, one of the enriching academic, social, cultural and college preparation activities offered to Talent Search and Upward Bound participants.

“A lot of the students we work with don’t know what’s after high school. They don’t know what the process is or what to expect; so, when they see the applications and the FAFSA, they get stressed out,” program coordinator Eduardo Alonso said. "We’re here to help them out, let them know they can do it and mentor them through the whole process.”

During the Summer Bridge Experience, students were given presentations on time management and how fixed-and-growth mindset play into making changes before the new school year.

Talent Search mentor Francisca Morales said the Summer Bridge Experience and the work she does with the program overall is her opportunity to give back to the community that supported her.

“I know when I was in high school, I had a lot of help preparing for college. I want these students to know that they have someone here to help them and motivate them,” Morales said.

After the classroom presentations, the Talent Search cohort walked to Chase Field to hear from Arizona Diamondbacks representatives about careers in sports beyond being an athlete before attending the June 23 baseball game.

Now that the new school year is underway, TRIO Talent Search director Carolina Luque Rodriguez is “excited to be in the schools starting this fall, getting to know our students and building a stronger partnership with the Tolleson Union High School District.”

TRIO Talent Search is a free program available to Tolleson Union High School District students interested in pursuing a college education. It is offered through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Education and Arizona State University. Program applications are accepted year-round.

For more information, visit the TRIO Talent Search website, email, or call 602-496-0972.