Carlsbad High School has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Cal State San Marcos, which will guarantee students from Carlsbad entrance into the college if they meet certain requirements of the school. This arrangement will facilitate students’ ability to attend a reputable four year university without travelling far from home.
“I think for us it was a good partnership and we didn’t have a good representation of students opting to San Marcos and that was surprising because they are our neighboring Cal State University,” Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services for CUSD Robert Nye said.
Starting this year, the program is being offered to students who have been enrolled in the district since ninth grade. In order to obtain acceptance into Cal State San Marcos students still have to meet the state standards for the university. They have to take and qualify with no remediations on the early assessment program in their junior year of high school, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, take the SAT or ACT (though there is no minimum score requirement), submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and meet all a-g requirements.
“Students still need to qualify, is the reality of it,” Nye said. “They’re not lowering their standards in order to get more kids in.”
Despite Cal State San Marcos being the closest four year university, there isn’t a significant representation of Carlsbad High School students currently attending Cal State San Marcos. CUSD officials hope that this program will help to increase enrollment.
“We think that students want to try other schools such as the UCs, but we do think there are a number of our students who aren’t aware of some of the opportunities and programs that San Marcos has to offer and the fact that it has re-established its credibility as a really good institution and it has a number of good majors that students can opt into,” Nye said.
Because of this lack of awareness of San Marcos as a viable option for students, CUSD is working with Carlsbad High School counselors to get students into the program. They are also considering expanding the program to include sophomores if they qualify so that the program can encourage as many students as possible to attend a four year university.
“We’re going to increase our visits there so we take kids to see the campus and we’re getting some other staff development that’s associated with that with our counselors to get kids in,” Nye said.
One of the reasons many students choose not to attend a four year university such as Cal State San Marcos is the costs associated with attending a university rather than a community college or going straight into the workforce. To remedy this, CUSD is attempting to create a scholarship fund by working with businesses to help ease the financial burden. This program aims to increase awareness of the opportunities students have after high school and to help them continue of whatever path they choose.
“We wanna increase awareness that there is a good option right here in your backyard that you can choose from.” Nye said. “We have a pretty amazing group of kids that qualify to a lot of great colleges, but some students may opt to stay right here and choose San Marcos. It’s another option for them down the road.”