It is no secret that a college education is the key to advancement in this country. However, the process of applying and finding a way to pay for it can be daunting. Add to this a cultural divide – where Hispanic parents and students must often learn to navigate the intracacies involved – and the process can be daunting. However, college-bound Latino students and their parents don’t have to go through it alone.
For the last fifteen years Mariela Dabbah has devoted her enormous energy to helping young Latino students, women and professionals succeed in their quest of education and successful careers in the United States. LatinosinCollege.com has re-launched as the only site with all the resources Latino students and their families need to succeed in college! Experts answer specific student/parent questions in Spanish or English within two days. And students can win valuable prizes in monthly giveaways. Take a look at what this incredible website resource has to offer and get to know Mariela Dabbah in our exclusive interview:
Expert Advice From Mariela Dabbah
CL: Why did you create the Latinos In College website and what types of resources does it offer?
MD: After years of doing workshops for parents across the country, and two books to help them understand the school system from Kindergarten to College, (Help your children succeed in school and Help your children succeed in high school and go to college) I felt it was necessary for me to write to the students directly. So I wrote “Latinos in College: Your Guide to Success.” But I realized that writing a book and conducting workshops about that topic wasn’t going to be enough. I wanted to help raise awareness of the fact that we needed Latinos to graduate college and that all the resources were available for them. The problem was -and still is– that a lot of families don’t know how to find those resources. So I launched the Latinos in College platform.
Many Latino students, are the first generation to go to college, therefore, there’s little information at home about the courses they need to take while in high school, the extra curricular activities, the different type of colleges available, how to pay for them, etc, etc. Latinos in College has offers a free website www.latinosincollege.com that brings to students and their families all the resources, tools, and organizations that they need to navigate the process through successful college graduation. What’s most unique about our site is that we have a team of university students and professionals who answer questions one-on-one in Spanish and in English. In addition to the website, our student Ambassadors do workshops in high schools and schools where they share the information available on our website and thanks to our advertisers, they give away copies of my book to participants.
CL: What are the biggest challenges Latino youth face in college?
MD: One of the biggest challenges these students face is having to contribute financially to their homes at a very young age. This makes it harder to focus on their studies and is a significant cause of dropouts at all levels of education, including college. In addition, having few people around them to provide guidance on issues related to college is another challenge that many students face. We are trying to provide this support and connect them with the mentors and resources they need both via our website and on our very active social media community. We are on www.facebook.com/latinosincollege, on www.twitter.com/latinosincolleg and on www.myspace.com/latinosincollege.
CL: How can we as a community help increase the number of Latino youth who attend AND successfly complete college?
MD: As a community is critical that we start sharing positive stories. Rather than talking about negative statistics all the time, we should be focusing on what’s achievable and how people with hard circumstances beat the odds and pulled through. As long as students keep hearing that the majority of Latinos don’t graduate from a 4 year institution, it will be easier to belong to that majority than to try to be part of a minority. We have to change the conversation and that’s why at http://www.latinosincollege.com/ we are raising the bar by expecting college graduation for all students.
We offer several types of internships: Social Media, Editorial, Community Outreach and Operations so all of those college students who are interested can get in touch with Christine Mendonca at firstname.lastname@example.org