With support and resources, preparing for college doesn’t have to be terrifying.

By Aileen Chhen

Foothill High School student, age 17

In January of 2012, the Educational Talent Search (ETS) program of UC Davis was introduced to Foothill High School. ETS serves to help students identify and reach their future educational and career goals by providing the resources and guidance needed to be successful in their quest for college. ETS has made a profound impact on our students and continues to do so.

When beginning the program, Mr. Taili L. Mugambee, the Program Advisor for Foothill High School, was able to automatically connect with numerous students, as many of his past struggles are similar to the hardships students are currently facing. Through words of inspiration, Mr. Mugambee has helped students see the value of pursuing a college education.

“Many of the students that attend Foothill High come from families where they will be the first to experience the life of college and the reward of a degree. To be the first means to pave the way for those behind you. Your dream career may not exist in your mind yet, but as we work together, you begin to understand where your true interests lie, and we will build from there.   The investment in your educational career will be one of the most important and sustaining investments you’ll make in your life,” he says.

ETS has given tremendous assistance to seniors preparing for college. Over the summer, ETS offered “Senior Prep Day” at UC Davis, in which students were given insight for how be prepared for their future. Students were given many useful tips of what colleges expect in the personal statement and how to write an essay that effectively represents their life story. The ETS program leaders also answered a number of questions regarding college admissions and deadlines, financial aid, and preparation for the SAT and ACT.

Darya Tsakke, an ETS student, described the impact that the ETS program has had on her educational goals.

“ETS is your best buddy in high school and your backbone during college.” says Tsakke. “The ever-inspiring Mr. Mugambee himself believes in every single person’s potential, and his face displays pride for students who have grown under the program. His words are so inspiring that they completely change the very atmosphere you’re in. The money you get to keep in your pockets from all the financial help is mind-boggling. Being in this program changes your entire outlook on the world, and you get to experience firsthand the world beyond Foothill High when you travel outside of school to magnificent university campuses such as Stanford and San Jose State.”

As the deadline for college applications looms near, students should be extremely grateful to have the ETS program. As students frantically submit their personal statements to Mr. Mugambee for proofreading and repeatedly visit his office to ask questions, we realize how grateful we are to have a counselor who is not only inspiring in words but extremely dedicated in ensuring that each student receives the quality guidance they need to be successful in their aspirations.

Featured photo by Dasha Tsakke.