Dedicated to success
SAISD’s commitment to preparing students for college is shown by the expanded opportunities for dual credit and Advanced Placement courses, early college high schools, in-demand career pathways and support for first-time college-goers.
In an effort to provide every opportunity for their students to get to—and get through—college, SAISD also has a department focused entirely on postsecondary initiatives. Led by Dr. Eduardo Sesatty, this department is unique in its efforts to provide resources and support, not only to current SAISD students, but to those who have graduated and taken the next step into a college or university. The Postsecondary Initiatives Department focuses on four areas: awareness, readiness, access, and success.
A major component of the department’s focus is ensuring that students know the full scope of options they will have once they walk across the stage at their high school graduation. In addition to six college fairs per year, students also have the opportunity to visit colleges in person, in Texas and out-of-state. Annually, SAISD brings hundreds of students to colleges and universities across Texas and the nation. Preparation is done in advance to find schools for which these students would be a good fit, based on factors like career interest, test scores, and financial aid.
“We want students to know what’s out there,” said Dustin Nieto, Coordinator for Postsecondary Initiatives for SAISD.
Nieto and his colleagues understand that they can take students to visit colleges all year long, but it’s not as helpful if the students don’t have what they need to get accepted and to succeed in college. With annual SAT camps, the incorporation of SAT and ACT curriculum in the classroom, and opportunities to take the test during school hours, students are given every opportunity they need to take, and excel in, these tests that are vital to enrolling in college.
The college application process is a daunting one, especially for many SAISD students who are first-generation college students. Every SAISD high school now has at least one full-time staff member dedicated to supporting students every step of the way. From choosing a school to applying for financial aid, college bound advisors and financial aid advisors are always available to help students get ready for college.
Perhaps the most critical focus of the Postsecondary Initiatives Department is also the one that sets SAISD apart from other districts. The district employs college alumni advisors whose sole role is to ensure SAISD alumni are successful once they enroll in a college or university. This effort was modeled after the KIPP Through College program, but taken to a larger scale. These advisors visit students at college to meet with them about any struggles they may be having, send care packages, and even provide food and VIA bus passes.
“Many students feel like they’d be a burden if they reach back out to their high school teachers or counselors, so we have two full-time staff members who are dedicated to this sort of outreach,” said Nieto.
|For the Class of 2018, 84% of students graduated on time and, 52% enrolled in college, with more than half in a four-year university. When it came to college entrance exams, 94% of students took the SAT and the overall SAT college readiness more than doubled.|
Choose your course for college
For all high school juniors and seniors (and the parents and guardians helping them through the process), once they’ve decided to which colleges or universities they want to apply, it’s time for them to gather all of the necessary items and make their move. Every college is different, so it is advisable to visit websites for specific information, or visit the school’s college counselor for help.
Here are a few of the items students can expect to need when applying:
- High school transcript or GED certificate
- Application fee, if applicable
- SAT or ACT scores, if applicable
- Essays, if applicable
For those students planning to stay in the San Antonio area for college, the chart below will help them maneuver the application process. Students who are interested in attending a college or university out of town or out of state, are encouraged to create a similar chart—with the help of school counselors and the Postsecondary Initiatives Department—to track deadlines and fees.
|School||Application due date||Application fee|
|University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA)||June 1||$70|
|University of the Incarnate Word (UIW)||Feb. 1, but applications are considered after on a rolling basis||$20 (waived if applying before Feb. 1)|
|Trinity University||Nov. 1 for early decision; Jan. 15 for regular decision||No fee if submitted online|
|Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU)||May 1, but applications are considered after on a rolling basis||$35|
|St. Mary’s University||Dec. 15, but applications are considered after on a rolling basis||No fee|
|The Art Institute of San Antonio||Classes start year-round||No fee|
|Alamo Colleges District||A few weeks prior to classes starting (exact date pending)||No fee|
|Texas A&M University – San Antonio||Jan. 15 for priority; June 30 for final||$15|