By Jesse Lewis
MATTHEW ROBLES / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Edith Rahimian, president of Wildcat Recruiters, leads a meeting yesterday in the Nugent building. Though attendance was low, Rahimian hopes to gain many new members this year.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 10, 2004
Student club prepares
middle school students for the college life
The Junior Wildcat Recruiters worked with 13,170 young students last year to get them excited about college, and the campus club hopes to do the same this year.
JWR visits Tucson-area schools and speaks with students from kindergarten to eighth grade about the UA.
“It’s our grass roots effort of helping out with our nation’s education,” said Edith Rahimian, JWR president.
JWR, which has been in operation since 1999, has 23 active members but hopes to gain at least 15 more so they can serve more students.
Jessica Campos, admissions counselor and JWR coordinator, said that the number of students they are able to address depends on the number of club members.
In the spring, the group had 10 to 15 active members and they were able to serve 8,572 students. But Campos, who usually only does coordinating, had to do presentations as well, and the other recruiters had to do more presentations than usual.
“The more students we have, the more even the workload is,” Campos said.
The JWR visits eighth grade classes and explains the college application process, college life, how to pay for college and answers any questions young students may have about going to college.
The classes then travel to the UA and are given a general tour of the campus.
Rahimian, a business senior, said some middle school teachers are skeptical that recruiters can make a difference, but she said that just makes it better when a student is affected by a visit from the JWR.
”It’s good to see that you have your skeptics, when one student comes to you and says they didn’t know they could do this, (it makes it all worthwhile),” Rahimian said.
Campos said the UA’s admissions requirements will change in 2006 and students in the top 25 percent of their high school graduating class with no deficiencies will be guaranteed admission.
Students outside that percentage will have their applications reviewed more closely and things like extra-curricular activities and community service will be taken into account.
The current UA admissions requirements for Arizona residents is to be in the top 25 percent of their class, have a 3.0 unweighted GPA, a 1040 SAT score or a 22 composite ACT score.
Because of admissions requirements, Campos said recruiters are trying to get students interested in college early so they know what they need to accomplish in high school.
“They need to be well-rounded students. They are getting ready to register for high school so we get them on the right track,” Campos said.
Some of the student recruiters talk to come from families with no college education, and they are not very enthusiastic about trying to go to college, said Damion LeeNatali, vice president of JWR.
”College for a lot of them feels like a distant, far-off place that cannot be reached, and they get really excited about it (when we talk to them),” LeeNatali said.
The recruiters also speak to elementary-aged students and offer a picture and essay contest about what they want to be when they grow up.
This year is the first year that any eighth grade students addressed by the JWR would be entering college.
The program does not have any way of tracking whether the students who were addressed chose to attend the UA or another school, but the group hopes to be able to evaluate that in the future, said Arezu Corella, the club’s founder and adviser.
”Our goal is to survey students who go through the program and their reactions,” said Corella, an academic advisor in the psychology department.
The JWR club is hosting a raffle to earn money to get transportation for more schools to come to campus that cannot afford it on their own.
The earnings from the raffle will be split, and half will go to the raffle winner while the other half will be spent on bringing students to the UA.
UA students interested in being recruiters must have a 2.5 cumulative grade point average, participate in mandatory training and volunteer at least 10 to 15 hours per week.
Members must also attend weekly meetings.
All new members participate in training, which addresses what to present to students, explains activities recruiters will administer in their presentations and includes team-building exercises. The students then shadow other recruiters until they are comfortable speaking on their own.
Students who become recruiters receive a psychology practicum credit.