WVC guarantees a spot for local high school grads

WENATCHEE — High school seniors in Waterville, Cashmere, Cascade and Chelan join those from Wenatchee and WestSide with a guaranteed place at Wenatchee Valley College when they graduate.

WVC is pre-enrolling interested seniors from all five districts through The Admissions Guarantee, a program designed to help high school graduates successfully transition into college. In addition to saving them a slot, WVC waives the $25 admission fee if students choose to attend next fall.

The program was piloted last year at Wenatchee and WestSide high schools.

“It’s really cool. It’s almost like they’re extending the red carpet to students,” WestSide Principal Kory Kalahar said. “A lot of students said they didn’t think it was that easy to go to school.”

The pre-enrollment process removes barriers with the idea than any student who graduates is automatically accepted and the admissions fee is waived, he said.

Participating students aren’t locked into attending WVC and are encouraged to apply to other colleges and universities. They must still complete the financial aid paperwork, but having one college acceptance letter in hand is an incentive, he said.

“Applying to college can be a daunting task for students and families,” said Dr. Chio Flores, WVCVice President of Student Services and Enrollment Management. “TAG offers a seamless process for admission to WVC. The program provides WVC an opportunity to support local area high school graduates in their transition to college.”

In addition to the automatic enrollment and fee waiver, the program goals are to:

  • Increase student knowledge of higher education options.
  • Help students and families navigate the college admission process.
  • Provide support to local high schools as they help students understand how to apply for college admission.

Flores said the college expects to expand the program to more districts in the future.

Cashmere High School Principal Tony Boyle said he is pleased his students are included this year.

“It’s a win-win,” he said. “It gets kids thinking about their future and about college. Every year, when we get to graduation, half the students say they’re going to Wenatchee Valley College, but many of those haven’t even applied. They procrastinate. This way, all the kids at the school will be pre-enrolled. They still have to fill out the financial aid paperwork, but the admission process is taken care of.”

Boyle said Walla Walla Community College has been offering the program for three or four years.

“I called Wenatchee Valley College last year after finding out about it and was told they were doing a pilot program,” he said.

In Waterville, Principal Tabatha Mires said she also heard about Wenatchee’s pilot program last year and wanted to get her students included this year.

“I knew it was an opportunity for students. We want to do whatever we can do to help with the transition and more effectively support them,” she said.

The partnership between the college and school improves communication all around, creating more opportunity to follow up with students to make sure they stay on track.

“It’s especially helpful to students who might be the first generation in their family to attend college. They get help in navigating that process,” she said.

This article originally appeared in Wenatchee World August 30, 2017. Written by Nevonne McDaniels at 509-664-7151 or mcdaniels@wenatcheeworld.com. Reprinted with permission.