Skip to Content (Press Enter)

Preparing Teens for Higher Ed

United Way Awards $100,000 Grant for College Readiness
Share This:

Cal State Fullerton has been awarded a $100,000 grant from Orange County United Way to provide college-exposure programming for middle and high school students participating in the Destination Graduation program.

The unique countywide partnership that is Destination Graduation provides at-risk students — many of whom will be the first in their family to go to college — and their teachers with an enhanced academic program. This includes teacher training, career exploration opportunities, field trips, on-site career mobile units, parental engagement training and exposure to local Orange County corporations.

This partnership takes the program to the next level, supporting opportunities for participating middle school students to visit Cal State Fullerton and envision a future for themselves in college. High school students, meanwhile, can take tours of the campus while participating in academic and college-planning sessions, including financial aid planning.

CSUF President Mildred García, who serves on the Orange County United Way Board, has supported Destination Graduation since its inception more than four years ago. She believes the new partnership is a natural “next step” to seeing the program’s students enter college, graduate and become successful in life.

“One of the many challenges facing first-generation college students is understanding everything that goes into the process,” García said. “From registration and financial aid to study habits, academics, and campus life, this program will greatly help prepare and acclimate students for success.”

Cal State Fullerton and United Way will co-design the program to meet the unique needs of each participating student and school.

“We’re excited about this latest partnership with Cal State Fullerton,” announced Max Gardner, president and CEO of Orange County United Way. “The University has long shared our passion for unlocking the potential of middle and high school students in Orange County and preparing them to become the leaders of tomorrow.”

At the nine Destination Graduation middle schools, activities will include:

  • Kids to College: Introduces students to higher education, STEM majors through hands-on lessons, college life via a student panel and activities that expose students to higher education.
  • Titan Days: College exposure days engage students in the college admissions process and requirements, the financial impact of a college education and goal setting.

At the 11 Destination Graduation high schools, students and their parents will receive tools and information on how to navigate the college application and financial aid process. Programming will include:

  • Student Workshops focusing on academic planning, college options, researching colleges and universities, financial aid and applying for scholarships.
  • Parent Workshops covering college admissions requirements, financial aid, and parents’ role in supporting their sons and daughters in college.

All programs will be offered to parents in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, both at the students’ high school campuses and through tours of the Cal State Fullerton campus.

Participating districts and their schools are:

Anaheim Union High School District:

  • Anaheim High School
  • Katella High School
  • Savanna High School
  • Brookhurst Junior High School
  • South Junior High School

Garden Grove Unified School District:

  • Los Amigos High School
  • Santiago High School
  • Doig Intermediate School
  • Fitz Intermediate School

Santa Ana Unified School District:

  • Century High School
  • Godinez Fundamental High School
  • Middle College High School
  • Segerstrom High School
  • Carr Intermediate School
  • McFadden Intermediate School
  • Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School
  • Spurgeon Intermediate School

Huntington Beach Union High School District:

  • Huntington Beach High School
  • Westminster High School

Westminster School District:

  • Johnson Middle School


Media Contacts:

Melba Castro, Educational Partnerships, 657-278-5579

Paula Selleck, 657-278-4856