At MAS, we strive to show every one of our students that they’re college-bound by offering a college preparatory program for all. We believe college prep should ensure our students are academically and socially prepared for the rigors of college, ready to succeed in college-level coursework without remedial gateway courses. But it should also prepare them to understand the spoken and unspoken rules that govern college life. Here, you’ll find some ways we make sure MAS graduates are college-ready.
MAS students take college trips at least twice a year, beginning in their sixth-grade year through 11th grade--all at no charge to families. We do this to give them several opportunities to see many different kinds of schools: two-year and four-year institutions, private colleges, state universities, small schools, and large schools. By seeing different campuses in person, students can begin the process of deciding which school will best meet their academic needs.
We also guide our students to think beyond the academics. While on campus, students tour dorms to see college living options firsthand. They visit the financial aid or scholarship office to learn about how to pay for college. They step inside actual classrooms and lecture halls to see how class size varies from school to school, to help them consider how this factors into their decision. They also visit various student services on campus, like the student clinic, library, student activities office, and more to help them understand college life.
As students enter high school, we further specialize college tours by department or major, to help students as they narrow down options for majors they’re interested in and programs different schools offer.
The vast majority of our students will be first-generation college students. Taking college trips is just one of the ways we help our students bridge the gap between high school and college--and show them the dream of college can be a reality. We fully finance all of our college trips, so all students can experience this opportunity.
Beginning in their sophomore year of high school, all MAS students take two practice SAT exams each year and at least one actual SAT. MAS teachers are trained in SAT prep strategies to ensure our students have the tools they need to be successful in this gatekeeper college entrance exam. While we agree that test scores are not everything, we also know that SAT scores can determine whether students are accepted into the college of their choice; our goal is that no MAS student is turned away from a college opportunity simply because they can’t earn a high enough score. We strive to open doors of opportunity for our students, and we know students must succeed on the SAT.
Like almost everything we do at MAS, our students are not financially responsible for this opportunity. SAT test administration fees are fully financed by MAS Charter Schools for all students, regardless of income eligibility.
AP for All
Advanced Placement is a program operated by the College Board (the authors of the SAT) that allows students to take courses at their high school that can earn them college credit and/or qualify them for more advanced classes when they begin college. AP courses are designed to give students the experience of an intro-level college course while they are still in high school. Plus, students can earn college credit for the class if they earn certain scores on the AP exam.
AP classes were created in the mid-1950's as a response to the widening gap between high school and college. In the 2018-2019 school year, MAS began its AP FOR ALL program by enrolling 100% of our high school students in AP English. We intend to expand our AP FOR ALL program to include other content areas such as courses in the sciences, social studies, and math.
Like the SAT, it costs money to take AP exams--but not for MAS students. AP exams are available to all MAS Charter Schools high school students, regardless of income eligibility.
Dual Credit Courses
New Mexico high school students also have the option to enroll in college courses through dual credit programs, where the credit they earn counts toward their high school diploma and a post-secondary degree or certificate simultaneously.
Dual credit courses present a unique opportunity to gain exposure to college courses with MAS team support, all while earning credit toward a valuable credential. In the spring semester of their freshman year, all MAS high school students take a college placement test called the Accuplacer so they can enroll in dual credit coursework. Our team of college and career counselors work closely with high school students to assess them and support them in registering for their dual credit courses.
And again, like the other aspects of our college preparation program, tuition and course materials for these classes are all covered by MAS, so all of our students can be successful dual credit students!
College Admissions and Financial Aid Support
At MAS, our team of college and career counselors meet individually with students to support them with the admissions process to the colleges of their choice. Students are expected to apply to and be accepted by at least two colleges by the fall of their senior year. College and career counselors also meet with students and their families to support them in completing their financial aid applications.
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