Deciding on which colleges to apply to, applying for financial aid, and beginning the journey into higher education can seem daunting for many high school juniors and seniors. RU Ready, an overnight introduction to college life at U of R, aims to guide prospective Bulldogs on how to navigate the process while giving them a peek into the University experience.
In partnership with Redlands Unified School District, the U of R hosted RU Ready for high school seniors and juniors on June 16 and 17. Participants experienced a night in a residence hall, learned more about financial aid, attended a college applications workshop, and participated in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) activities with U of R summer research students. Students also had the opportunity to meet Redlands faculty and administrators, as well as connecting with peers from other high schools.
Jennifer Solis and Mattison Lord, two admissions counselors at the U of R, led RU Ready and worked with the financial aid office, student ambassadors, event services, and the Student Science Research program to ensure a fun and informative 24 hours.
Solis said, her favorite memory from this year's RU Ready was the scavenger hunt. “All students were placed in groups of 10 with a mixture of different schools. They were given a laminated map of our campus and a scavenger hunt list of instructions on where they had to go. My favorite part was how some groups got really into the challenge and were sprinting from one place to the other but also staying together as a team with people that they had met less than 12 hours ago. Having students who live locally meet other students who live nearby but attend another local school is great!”
Nicole Dominguez, a high school junior, is looking forward to attending college and focusing on her studies. “I feel like getting prepared for college beforehand is important so that when I am enrolled, I can have the resources and know what I need to do in order to be successful.”
Participants attended an “Admissions 101” class, taught by the U of R Admissions team who explained the admissions process for applying to private universities, like the U of R, a checklist of important information to include in an application, and deadlines to keep in mind. In addition, the class explained the financial aid process and explored multiple different paths in making college more affordable.
“RU Ready allows high school students to first of all be at the dorms and experience the campus,” said Gus Padron, a teacher at Redlands High School. “With the various meetings that they attend, students are able to get some information on financial aid, what the cost of tuition is, and how to go about signing up for their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This gives them a background and a feel for the community at the U of R.”
Isabella Colmenares, a prospective Bulldog, said “R U Ready is important because I didn’t know anything about financial aid or how to apply. Attending has tremendously helped me because now I know where to start and where to go from there.”
After the session, students attended an application workshop where they were able to start and work on their college application with staff available to help with any questions. Staff shared helpful tips and tricks to make a prospective student’s application shine.
High school students later toured the U of R Stauffer Center for Science and participated in a STEM workshop. From monitoring marine mammal behavior to investigating the effect of pollutants on medical plants, high schoolers enjoyed a glimpse into the research done by U of R students during their 10-week Summer Science Research program.
Dylan Zamanis ‘12, a high school teacher at Redlands East Valley, believes, “RU Ready is important for students because for many of them it’s the first time they are learning about the realities of college, whether that’s financial aid, living requirements or transportation. Even if they don’t decide to go to the U of R, it is still a solid introduction to what college life is like.”
“I think that RU Ready is important for high school students, one because they can see that they have a great university in their backyard that is close to home,” said Ashley Rodriguez, a high school teacher at Redlands eAcademy. “Also, for them to see that college is attainable, doable, and that there are pathways and possibilities for them to attend a university is what makes RU Ready great. That’s why I really like that they get to get the experience of sleeping in the dorms, and they get to see these presentations that explain to them how admissions work, which is one of the big hurdles that students must deal with.”
To learn more about admissions at the U of R, click this link.