Hispanic Student College Institute Helps High Schoolers Think Big

Three-day empowerment program welcomes distinguished students from 11 states

Embracing its status as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Montclair State University is taking a leadership role in ensuring the fastest-growing college-bound demographic is prepared to succeed not only once they’ve been admitted, but also while they’re in college and long after they’ve received their degrees.

The University welcomes more than 200 high school juniors and seniors from across the United States and abroad to participate at its first-of-its-kind Hispanic Student College Institute (HSCI) from August 1-3, offering a slate of empowerment activities and hands-on career guidance to help them maximize future educational experiences. The innovative program encourages students to “think big” when envisioning their futures and the impact they can have on their respective communities after college.

"The Hispanic Student College Institute will provide these high-performing students with the tools they need to thrive in a college environment and make an impact at any institution they choose to attend," says Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life Karen L. Pennington. "Montclair State University is committed to its status as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and to creating innovative programming such as the HSCI that will help these students continue their educational journeys successfully."

With nearly half of the program’s participating students the first in their families to pursue a bachelor’s degree, the focus of the Institute is consistent with Montclair State University’s goal of providing first-generation college students access to affordable, quality higher education. More than one-third of the University’s degree-seeking undergraduate students (35 percent) are the first in their families to attend college.

"The mission of Montclair State University is one of providing access to a quality, affordable education to as many students as possible,” says Director of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Indiveri-Gant. “But sometimes, navigating the ins and outs of the college preparation and search process can be a daunting task - particularly for students who are the first in their families to attend college. Our goal in starting the Institute is to help participants, many of whom are first-generation students themselves, to bridge that gap and get a jump-start on preparing for college. Ultimately, we hope many of our participants will decide that Montclair State is the place where their future begins."

Through the Institute, students will engage in activities such as career exploration and aspirational thinking exercises, and will benefit from college-planning workshops on topics such as financial aid literacy, navigating the college search and application process, essay writing, and public speaking. Good Day New York reporter and Montclair State alumna Ines Rosales ’04 will serve as the keynote speaker for the second day of activities, and will be discussing her professional journey and her college experience as a Hispanic student.

The program will then guide students in applying their newly cultivated skills into practice through culminating events that include a college fair and mock college interviews. Students who participate in the Institute will be eligible for scholarships and receive certificates of completion to include on their resumes.

“We hope students will leave the Institute more confident and better prepared to take on the college search and application process,” says Jordanna Maziarz, Undergraduate Admission’s associate director for recruitment and community engagement and the program’s coordinator. “Of course, we ultimately hope all of the Institute students choose to apply to Montclair State and become Red Hawks. But we will be proud of them wherever they enroll when the time comes; if they can take what they learn at the Institute and successfully and confidently navigate the college process, then we have met our goal.”

Learn more on the Hispanic Student College Institute site