By: Diego Camacho
“There is a Possibility For a Better Education”
On October 24, a press conference on “access to higher education” took place in the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus at 10:30 a.m. in Chardón building. Panelist; CUA coordinator, Alan López, Student of engineering, Edrick Alvarado and CUA director, Lissette Rolón, employees CUA(Centro Universitario para el Acceso, in Spanish)
“College starts from the kindergarten.” Said Rolón at the beginning of the conference hoping to emphasize that all the problems in the access for higher education could be resolved by the use of teaching and preparing our kids to go to college.
The three panelists work are the CUA in therefore come from a similar experience in the problems in access to higher education, Edrick Alvarado who is a student who was in the CUA since middle school and know studies in the UPRM. Lissette Rolón is the expert in the topic since she leads the CUA program in the campus; Alan López is one of the coordinators of the program he brings the “Hands-on” experience to the board.
The objective of the CUA is “help students of the west of Puerto Rico to get a higher education, from the middle school though high school, the admission process and later the students can visit our offices and help other students in the program” said Lissette Rolon.
Enthusiastic Alan added he feels working in this program and he replied “Working in the CUA is a very gratifying experience” “The CUA is a space full of adrenaline because of the college students and the students who we work with.”
The students of this program have a graduation percent that doubles the one in the island, while at an island level graduation from high school is a 43 percent, the students who are helped by the CUA have 95 percent of graduation which is a big improvement and proof the importance of a better education and motivation to graduate which the public school system is lacking, said Lissette Rolón
“The motivation is there.” said Alan Alvarado when referring to the students who wake up at 5 a.m. to go to school and then be at 4 p.m. for doing their homework at the CUA and later talk to the college students and get a bit of who is the college life and learning. Truly the students have a great deal of motivation for studying and have a better life than their parents according to “Para obtener un mejor futuro” the sixth research logbook of the CUA, which examines the relation between the highest level of education parents of the student of the program have achieve.
There is a clear correlation between the level of education and the knowledge of the university procedures as there students who come of a family who has few members who have gone to university has much difficult time at the time to make the transition from high school to college.
One of the principal problems that the community lives is the disconnection of the university and the community that surrounds it, As Lissette Rolón said, the university doesn’t consider the housing projects students as “college material” as therefore is more difficult to them to applied economically and a knowledge level if the information is not getting to them. Lissette Rolón recommends that the universities make alliances and collaborations between universities and schools, at the same time make the professors in the schools to act as facilitators and counselors in the transition of high school and college.
For the future the CUA is in formal conversation which the University of Puerto Rico campuses of Río Piedras, Humacao and Cayey, to have a programs like the CUA in Mayagüez campus. “Students deserve an opportunity to apply to university if we change the way students applied in this university by using there quality and talent as part of the screening process, a process like this is use when dealing with athletes they are given credit for they talent” said Lissette Rolón.