Category Archives: College Readiness

Summer Student Leadership Program accepting applications for high school students and district alumni

HISD is currently accepting applications for its 2019 Summer Student Leadership Program, a six-week paid summer internship and leadership development program for HISD high school students and alumni currently enrolled in college.

In line with HISD’s mission to provide students with the tools to reach their full potential, the program addresses the need to expose students to fulfilling careers and skills employers demand in a rapidly changing world. Participants will gain valuable employment experience and have the opportunity to test-drive career pathways before choosing a college major or entering the workforce.

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University of Houston-Downtown offers free tuition to low-income freshmen

Beginning this Fall, the University of Houston-Downtown pledges free tuition to incoming freshman if they have a family income of up to $50,000. 

The pledge, also known as the Gator Pledge, is a grant for students entering college for the first time. To be eligible, students must be Texas residents, a high school graduate who has earned a recommended or distinguished diploma, and eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant. Students must enroll as a full-time student at UHD and maintain 24 credit hours within a 12-month period. 

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Mexican university offers HISD students higher education opportunities

HISD high school students interested in studying abroad attended a college information session on Friday led by Dr. Luis Ernesto Derbez, the president of Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP). 

The university is one of the most prestigious in Latin America. It is one of the few accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the same organization that endorses major universities like the University of Texas at Austin, Rice University and Tulane University.  

“Universidad de las Américas Puebla is one of the most beautiful universities in Mexico,” Derbez said. “UDLAP is a multi-cultural community that offers many on-campus activities to international students.” 

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Student goes from Harvard ES to Harvard University

Bridgett Ramirez was born and raised in Houston, the oldest of three children. She began her formal education at Harvard Elementary School and is now attending Harvard University in Boston. She is the first in her family to go to college after graduating from Lanier Middle School and Heights High School.

Ramirez credits the HISD EMERGE program with helping her get into Harvard U. “EMERGE gave me the mentorship that my parents were not able to provide. The one-on-one relationship that I built with (EMERGE Program Manager) Esau Molina was so valuable. He made sure I was prepared for the college-application process, and he helped me get SAT prep.”  Continue reading

HISD launches maritime education partnership with UHD, HCC and Port of Houston

The Houston Independent School District, the University of Houston-Downtown, Houston Community College, and the Port of Houston Authority joined forces Thursday to announce a new education partnership that prepares students for maritime careers.

Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan, UHD President Juan Sanchez Munoz, Port of Houston Authority Chair Janiece Longoria and HCC Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration Janet Wormack each signed a Letter of Intent that outlines a seamless career pathway for students that begins in high school, extends to higher education institutions, and ultimately leads to potential maritime jobs at the Port of Houston.

“HISD is proud to partner with UHD, HCC and the Port of Houston Authority to offer our students greater opportunities and pathways for successful maritime careers,” Lathan said. “Great things are happening in Houston, and great things are happening for the students of HISD.” Continue reading

Upcoming spring college fairs planned around the city 

This Spring, HISD students will be able to attend several college readiness fairs—both national and local—right here in Houston!

At each of these events, students will explore multiple colleges and degree programs, learn about industry certifications and technical careers, and apply for scholarships to fund their education.

Additional details about each of these upcoming opportunities can be found below, and students are encouraged to speak with their college and career readiness advisors for details. Select campuses may provide transportation. Continue reading

PSAT scores from October test now available 

PSAT scores from the October test have been released, and they are available now. After spending time to take the test, it’s important to access, understand, and use the PSAT scores to your advantage.

PSAT scores will help you understand how close you are to being college ready in math, reading, and writing. PSAT test scores can also connect you to other benefits you hadn’t thought of, including enrichment programs, internships, summer camps, scholarships, and the ability to take college-level courses in high school.

Some schools are creating a special event or day to explain what you need to know, but you don’t have to wait for that. You can access your scores online NOW and learn how ready you are for college, explore which Advanced Placement courses are a good match for you, and gain insight into which skills to focus on in order to prepare for the SAT.   Continue reading

Students discover the sky’s the limit on DiscoverU field trip

High school students from across HISD attended a day-long field trip to Space Center Houston recently.

The trip, sponsored by Houston-based nonprofit organization DiscoverU, was the culmination of an outreach effort led by HISD’s College and Career Readiness Department that resulted in 57 eleventh-graders being admitted into NASA’s High School Aerospace Scholars (HAS) program. All students who were accepted were invited to register for the free field trip, and 51 attended.

Activities included a tour of Building 9 and Rocket Park, an astronaut talk in Space Center Theater, and a chance to explore Space Center Houston.

“Being able to a meet an astronaut was inspiring,” said Energy junior Cynthia Gomez. “They set a high goal and accomplished it.”

Students from the following high schools went on the trip: Bellaire, Carnegie, Eastwood Academy, Energy Institute, Heights, HSPVA, Madison, Mickey Leland College Prep, North Houston Early College, Northside, Sharpstown, Texas Connections Academy, Washington, and Westside. A few tenth-graders from Madison and Washington also attended.

DiscoverU’s aim was to expose students to Space Center Houston and provide an in-person introduction to the program, with the goal of encouraging and empowering HISD students to complete the five-month online course and get a chance to spend a week at Johnson Space Center next summer.

It was also an opportunity for students to meet others in the program who share their interest in aerospace engineering.

“The trip was amazing,” said Washington sophomore Jesus Reynaga. “It really gave me insight into what I want to do when I grow up.”

FAFSA priority deadline for Texas students is Jan. 15

Filling out the FAFSA is the first step toward getting many different types of financial aid for school, and finishing the FAFSA early is the best way to maximize college-award packages.

Even though the federal government doesn’t have a firm deadline as to when FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) applications need to be completed, all 50 states do, and for Texas the priority deadline is Jan. 15 – two months earlier than last year.

When applying for student aid, timing matters. Each year, the Office of Federal Student Aid offers more than $120 billion through grants, loans, and work-study funds to help students pay for higher education. Priority for this money will be given to students who apply before the priority consideration deadline.

Also, if you complete your FAFSA application by Jan. 1, 2019, you will be entered in a drawing for three $500 scholarships. The scholarships will be awarded in January. Continue reading

Parent University helps Wisdom HS mom lead the way for new PTO 

Armed with a fresh notebook and pens for jotting notes, Wisdom High School parent Erica Alvarado bounced from table to table at Thursday night’s second Parent University session, gathering as much information and resources as she could.

Alvarado’s mission was twofold: Learn as much as possible to help support her children’s education, and pass along resources to fellow parents serving on Wisdom’s newly minted PTO, for which she is president.

Parent University was designed to connect parents and children to resources offered by the district to create successful academic outcomes, as well as safe and healthy environments at home and at school.   Continue reading