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Deja View : An updated look at some of the people, places and programs featured in Valley View during the year : EDUCATION : Enrollment Up in Program for High Achievers

The number of 12-year-olds worrying about getting into the right graduate school is growing.

In January, the Early Entrance Program at Cal State Los Angeles was going strong, with 27 students skipping junior high or high school to go straight to college, backed by the counseling and support of Jan Slater, program director.

Enrollment is up 41% since January--there are 38 students in the program now and some are commuting to the university from as far away as Palmdale.

According to Slater, the concept of moving high-achieving students out of their age group into an academic environment that better meets their academic and social needs is gradually gaining wider acceptance among parents.

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“I no longer have to explain the concept so much from a theoretical point of view,” she says, “because the program is gaining prestige and notoriety.”

Slater says one mother recently called her to see if her gifted child--starting to underachieve because of boredom in school--could enter the program. The child’s older sibling had qualified for the program a few years ago but had never enrolled. “Now the mother understands the program better and really wants it for her second child,” Slater says.

The rising demand for the Early Entrance Program is making the process more competitive, Slater says. She’s expecting more than 40 students in the program in the fall. “We have five or six kids already standing in line for next year.”

While the program is getting tremendous involvement and support at Cal State L. A., Slater says, it still needs more funding since she is the only full-time staff person involved in the admission, recruitment and counseling efforts. She would like to see at least another $50,000 allocated for another staff person and additional funds to support group activities for the students, but doesn’t see it happening soon.

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“But it’s better than it’s ever been,” she says. “I feel like Mother Hubbard.”


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