St. Ignatius
Students Reflect on SI's Magis Program College Tour

This October, several dozen SI students boarded a bus headed for Southern California and a life-changing weekend trip. They are part of the school's Magis program, an academic, social and cultural support program for students historically underrepresented at SI and institutions of higher education, and they were participating in the program's 13th annual college tour. Over just a few days, the students visited Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Chapman University, UC Los Angeles, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, and San Diego State University, met with SI alumni currently attending these schools and came away with new perspectives on what paths are available to them.

Several described being apprehensive about visiting schools they'd never considered before, but that once they got a taste of what life is like on those campuses, they became aware of new possibilities.

"I thought it was going to be presentation after presentation, that it was going to be boring and we'd get pamphlets and stuff like that. But then we got to have a student Q & A, and that got me more excited," said Jade Mac ’23. "Originally, I was just going to apply to all the UCs — well-known schools — and I didn't really think about applying to SDSU, or Chapman, or other schools we visited, but after the tour and admissions presentation, I felt differently about them."

Students also spoke about the impact of visiting colleges like SDSU, where they could see a large percentage of the student body is Hispanic.

"A majority of the time, when we think of higher education, we think of whiteness and majority white areas," said Andrés Safa ’23. "So seeing a school like that helped me see myself in college, and I was glad to know there's a place that's working to welcome people who look like me."

Another common theme among students was that their visits cast their high school years in a new light. About half of the tour's participants identify as first-generation college-bound students, and for many it was the first time they had ever visited a college campus. Some students said attending college became more real for them during the trip and now they're focusing more intently on their academics at SI. Others came to understand that going away to college is a part of their larger journey into adulthood.

"Before the tour, I feel like I always kept rushing myself in school, that I wasn't enjoying the present because I've always been so academically driven to the point of overwork," said Isabella Alcantara ’24. "But then I went on the tour and learned that it's okay to take things slow. It's okay to take time and it's okay to not know everything. I heard stories from people saying, 'I've switched majors so many times.' They're still in that discovery process, and yet I've spent all this time rushing myself and forcing myself to figure things out when I don't need to force it. It will come naturally if I take my time."

 

To a person, the students were grateful for the opportunity to go on this trip, and also for the broader Magis program at SI. Anais Cooper ’23 captured the broad sentiment of the group.

"It's like family, and I say that because I don't always go to Magis, but they're always there, and knowing that is so comforting," Cooper said. "It's like knowing your family is always there for you and they always have your back."

The Magis High School Program is an academic, social, and cultural support program for students historically underrepresented at SI and institutions of higher education. Students receive academic, socio-cultural and college preparation support, with the goal of helping them achieve success at SI and beyond. For more information, visit the Magis webpage.

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