How it Works: We provide our Dreamers the opportunity to go on two college tours per year. These college visits start as early as third grade and continue throughout middle and high school. College field trips help our Dreamers actualize the idea of going to college by exposing them to different campuses, majors, and fields. Ultimately, these college tours aim to inspire them to attain higher education. We at the “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles (IHADLA) strive to make college a viable possibility for all of our Dreamers, not just academically, but also by providing them with numerous opportunities to experience a college-going culture and environment from a young age.
We are proud to announce that our high school Dreamers from Inglewood recently returned from a Northern California college tour! This was the first time we took our students on a college trip farther than San Diego, and we are happy to say that it was very successful. Exposing the Dreamers to Northern California and Northern California colleges was important because most of our Dreamers have not been outside of Southern California. This college tour also allowed some of our Dreamers to experience different cities and cultures without leaving California. The overall purpose of the trip was to open their minds to how many college opportunities are available if they continue to do well academically.
IHADLA Inglewood College Tour: San Jose and San Francisco
The Northern California college tour consisted of three different colleges: De Anza Community College, San Jose State University (SJSU), and the University of San Francisco (USF). Inglewood’s program coordinators, Chaznae and Morgan, wanted to expose the Dreamers to three different college options: a community/ junior college, a public state school, and a private university. The Dreamers have unique interests, goals, and comfort zones, so having three different types of academic settings as examples allowed the Dreamers to better visualize where they see themselves attending college in the near future.
USF generously hosted our IHADLA Inglewood Team for a number of days while they were in Northern California. Chaznae, Morgan, Erik (program assistants), and the Dreamers stayed in the dorms at USF, giving the Dreamers a true college experience! Long time IHADLA volunteer Ms. Ann also joined in on the Northern California College Tour to show support and help navigate the Bay Area. When their stay at the University was up, the team bunked up at a local hotel, where the Dreamers were able to bond and connect as a group. In addition, the Inglewood team had the opportunity to do some sightseeing while up North, giving the Dreamers a truly wonderful and memorable experience as they explored San Francisco and the SF Bay Area. They ate Korean barbecue, climbed a huge set of stairs that led to a gorgeous view of the SF Bridge, and had a ton of fun taking photos throughout the trip!
Dreamers’ Thoughts About their College Tour Experience
Chaznae and Morgan had the 11 Dreamers who attended the trip write one-page essays that answered the following questions:
1. What was your favorite thing about the trip and why?
2. Which college trip did you enjoy most and why?
3. If you were given the opportunity to attend ANY college that you’ve visited with IHADLA and it was totally free of charge, which one would it be and why?
Read what some of the Dreamers had to say about their college tours experience and college in general based on these questions!
Joshua stated in his essay that he would choose San Jose State University to attend, but he very much enjoyed USF and wrote about his favorite aspects of the university:
The college trip I enjoyed the most was the University of San Francisco. The reason why the University of San Francisco was my favorite college is because it seems like a college that has a lot to offer academically. I think the way the college uses the student ID card is a good way for the student to access meals, enter in different areas on campus, and maybe sometimes hold financial aid money if issued. With the student ID card you can get on any bus in the San Francisco area for free. I wouldn’t have to bring or buy a car because I could just use my ID card for transportation. You can also put your money on this card to eat food. This University also has a wide variety of food to choose from. Another thing that I liked about this University was the security on the campus. What I mean by security is a lock-down system that they have in place for student’s safety, after nine o’clock the campus doors, buildings, and etc. locks down. So, the only way you can get in the campus doors and buildings is to have the student ID card. What I really thought was a good experience was sitting in a physiology class and seeing how the teacher teaches the students and what they teach about. I also stayed in a college dorm for two nights. The dorm was a good size room to stay in, and I really had a good time living the college experience for several days.
Evelin passionately wrote about the University of San Francisco in her reflective essay and even went on to explain about her time bonding with the Dreamers and staff:
Personally, my favorite part of the trip was definitely the time we all spent at the hotel and when we went out to get food. In my opinion, it was the best part because I truly did feel as if our family was coming even closer together. This is especially referring to the new Dreamers, that have barely entered the program in either the ninth or seventh grade, it gave us the chance to get closer to the rest of the Dreamers. We were able to talk and express ourselves with one another, having that same confidence/ bond that throughout the years some friends are able to build, we built that within days. Not only academic wise, but also in a very personal way, a way that it would seem impossible to achieve in only days. Even though it was an amazing experience within the Dreamers, the thing that truly impacted me, which I absolutely loved, was realizing the immense support system we as Dreamers have not only from the program coordinators but also from volunteers.
Journi elaborated on her desire to attend a Historical Black College or University:
If I were able to attend any college with the “I Have a Dream” Foundation free of charge, I would like to visit a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) to get in touch with my culture and visually see people of color get a good education to become lawyers, teachers, and more. Spellman University, for example, would be my historically black college of choice because of their competitive bio-engineering program which would better my chances of becoming a biotechnitian due to the many rigorous classes dealing with math and science one would have to take for that career. As a whole, the college tour was an eye opener as to what I want to do with my life and how that choice could benefit others no matter their race, age, or gender.
Samuel was enlightened from this college tour. He later stated that he would like to attend San Jose State:
My favorite thing on this trip was how I felt like an actual college student while I slept in a dorm and went to a college class. I liked sleeping in the dorms because now I know how dorms look and how it would be if I would live in a dorm. I saw that two people live in a small room and don’t really have personal space. The class I was in was really cool for me because I saw that even though I was in an Asian culture class it still related to me. In the class, we were talking about how authenticity and how it is based on your family. I was interested in this because it’s true most of my friends and I believe that Taco Bell and Del Taco are not authentic Mexican restaurants. I also liked how small the class was the teacher actually remembered my friend and I. I like that because if you have a relationship with your professor the more likely they are to help you if you need it and they can write you a good letter of recommendation. I also like the small classes because it makes the class feel like a family.
Our Dreamers truly impress us every day with their ideas, their thoughts, and their way of relating to the world. They never fail to inspire us, and we hope to be able to provide more eye-opening experiences like these to empower our Dreamers to reach for the stars and chase their dreams.