These past few weeks, I’ve been talking with proud San Francisco Unified School District parents about how excited they are now that their children have been accepted to college (and I happily admit I’m one very proud parent of a college-bound senior this year, too).
It’s a big deal to see our children reach that moment when they receive a letter from a college that starts with the word “congratulations!”
But wait. What now? When do they sign up for classes? What are those extra fees? What if they can’t get to early orientation? Exactly how do they get the financial aid the college listed in the offer letter?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And we know this is just the beginning of a whole new world of challenges and opportunities that lay ahead of them.
That’s why several of us worked together to put on an event this week for our graduating seniors to give them a head start. It’s called FRISCO Day (named by students to mean Friday = Successful College Options) — which happens Friday — and it’s a chance for all college-bound seniors to hear a little bit about the things they should know and do before starting college this fall.
In short, this is a day where thousands of our graduating seniors will learn ways to work the college system — whether they are off to a California State University, City College of San Francisco or one of the hundreds of private colleges across the U.S.
If I knew then what I know now
There are definitely things I wish I knew when I went to college about navigating the system and building networks that I now understand years after graduating.
We want our graduates to get on the right path after high school. During FRISCO Day, they will take part in activities to build peer networks with other students. They will attend workshops to learn the ins and outs of how best to manage financial aid.
For those planning to enroll at CCSF, FRISCO Day will be a time when some can begin signing up for classes. This leg up will be the first early-registration for incoming SFUSD graduates at City College.
And for students who do not yet have a plan for what to do after graduation, they’ll have a chance to learn what City College can offer them, including a hundred possible certificate programs that can help them enter skilled jobs, as well as how to start at CCSF and transfer to four-year universities.
A big day takes big partners
FRISCO Day is one initiative of a broader post-secondary effort in San Francisco called Bridge to Success. This partnership between The City, the SFUSD, City College and San Francisco State University aims to double the number of public-school students who complete college.
I am proud to be a part of this collaboration that works to help our students make a strong transition from high school to college.
Richard A. Carranza is superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.