FARMINGTON — San Juan College is testing a college readiness program at two area high schools that aims to educate graduating seniors on the college application process and help them form relationships with college staff.
The college's enrollment staff have been working with students at Aztec and Piedra Vista high schools who plan to attend San Juan College to answer students' questions about continuing their education and alert them about their options.
College Enrollment Specialist Abby Calcote said College Readiness Education Workshops help the college take a more proactive approach to recruiting students.
The program spreads out the application process, rather than trying to fit everything into one day.
"We wanted to work with them step-by-step, rather than all at once," Calcote said. "It's overwhelming. If we help them through this process, it's a little less stress."
Students registered for the program in October 2013 and have attended three workshops since then. Topics covered included choosing a college major, San Juan College's Accuplacer assessment test and financial aid.
About 70 Piedra Vista students and 15 Aztec students participated in the program.
At Piedra Vista on Thursday, college representatives finished advising sessions with the participating seniors. Calcote and others advised seniors on classes to register for when they sign up for courses in the fall.
Aztec and Piedra Vista students in the program receive priority registration, allowing them to register before other students when they attend new student orientation.
Natalie Stark, Piedra Vista's Financial Aid College Entrance counselor, said the college application process can be daunting for students and parents. The college's program helps tackle issues and questions about the process, she said.
"A program like this and partnering with San Juan College helps simplify things," Stark said. "When you take things bit by bit, it's easier."
Piedra Vista senior Saul Carrilo said the program has helped him prepare to attend San Juan College this fall.
"It helped me get more involved by letting me know what I'm going to take next year," Carrilo said.
Calcote said the college hopes to expand the program next year. But, she said, she is happy with participation in the program's first year.
"College can be scary and knowing someone makes it a little bit easier," Calcote said.