Future business students visit UI

By Luis Velazquez, Contributing Writer

A Latino professional association at the University is giving Latino high school students the opportunity to visit campus and is providing multiple workshops to assist in the transition from high school to college.

The High School Outreach Program, offered to Illinois high school students, is being hosted by The Association of Latino Professionals for America from Nov. 8-11 this year. 

ALPFA is the largest Latino organization for students who are studying business in college. The University is one of 160 student chapters nationwide.

Marco Bacerra, vice president of internal affairs of ALPFA and senior in Business, oversees the High School Outreach Program. He leads a committee of 45 active ALPFA members who review program applications.

“It is a little bit stressful just overseeing it, but I have a lot of help,” Bacerra said. “Even though we have a lot of applications, I don’t actually have to go through every single one by myself.”

Lucero Gutierrez, president of ALPFA and senior in Business, does not directly oversee this program but is proud the organization is opening doors to students across Illinois.

“We do this program specifically because we are looking at the pipeline,” Gutierrez said. “Predominantly, there’s not a lot of minority students that go to college or universities within the majors of business.”

Those who participate in the program go through different workshops and live with their assigned ALPFA member for the weekend. Activities they can participate in include a case study, a scavenger hunt and more, Baccera said.

When high school students submit their applications, the ALPFA committee looks for applicants who are dedicated to academics. Marco noticed many students might focus more on their test scores, but the key to stand out is what you say in the personal statement.

“A lot of students are competitive with their GPA and ACT scores, but we really try to find students that are inspired to go to school and are looking in the College of Business since we are trying to serve as a pipeline of finding Latino high school students that are specifically coming to the College of Business,” Baccera said.

Armando Miranda, sophomore in LAS, said the University should do a better job of reaching out to minority students.

“Personally, I think I was well prepared enough in high school,” Miranda said. “However I’ve seen students who are POC on campus, and me being active in cultural communities on campus, I just feel like the transition is harder for students of color because finding opportunities isn’t always clear as it is for non-POC.”

Gutierrez emphasized the importance of giving minority groups a chance with better education opportunities, especially to those who don’t have the opportunity to visit college campuses.

“You are not alone on your journey, there are other students who are just like you,” she said. “At the end of the day, you are no different than anyone else because at the end of the day everyone puts on a pair of pants in the morning.”

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