On Track prepares local students for college

The On Track program is doing better than ever according to Liz Zenteno. The program is designed to get local high school seniors on the right track to beginning their college journey.

Previously, Midland College tried to help seniors with applying for college through a program that was known as College Connection.

This program was designed to help high school seniors on the college application site known as Apply Texas.

However MC noticed that the seniors needed more help than just the application process, and they need to start the process way sooner than what they were doing on their own.

So they came up with On Track to “get students to take action now with admissions, financial aid, and idea of their degree,” Zenteno said.
Program administrators first start by attending all the local high schools and getting the seniors to fill out an information card where they leave their basic contact information.

Once they receive the contact information, they then start to move forward in the process by contacting who is interested in MC and giving them information about meetings that are coming up for them to attend to start the process.

There should never be a reason why the students don’t know dates and times of every upcoming meeting because a text is sent out to them ahead of time telling them when and where the meetings are taking place, she said. The first meeting drew students in December.

The first meeting was about Legacy Scholarship community service hours. Information about what they can do now, how many hours they need, and the difference between Legacy Scholar hours and Texas Scholar hours was presented.

The second meeting, which took place on in January, was an even bigger success.

Zenteno said “about 78 students attended. Forty of those students were first-time students and 38 were returning students. Overall there were 120 people including parents.”

This meeting gave information about the TSI and how to schedule classes they can attend to help prepare them for college. Also every student who attended was given a voucher of taking the TSI assessment for free which is a value of $29.

So far the program is doing well by having more seniors involved and getting a head start on the process of applying to MC.

Each meeting that is coming up has different topics that are covered to help ease students into the process. At each meeting organizers do not like to leave the students and parents with unanswered questions, so the program administrators provide the opportunity through an app for the seniors to text what questions they have.

Zenteno said “seniors and parents are hungry for the information.”

Also to help seniors have their questions answered at every meeting, there are current MC students who attend to help the seniors get a better feel of what college life is like at MC.

Zenteno said they tell the seniors to do more than just attend classes and then go home but to get involved with activities around the campus.Students that have attended these meetings have had a good attitude about the process.

“They have energy, the questions just come in, and some students brought their friends the second meeting,” Zenteno said,

The main goal of this program is to get seniors on the right track to beginning their college journey. Zenteno said she “wants to get the word out that everybody is welcomed.”

Students have attended from Coleman, Lee High School, Midland High School, Premiere, and Greenwood.

About 70 percent of the students are first-generation.

Zenteno said the idea of this program is to have “smoother transition from high school to the first semester of college.

To not have every student wait till the last minute and to not have everybody wait in line in May and June, but to start now.”

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