Stop by College & Career Center Today

Stop+by+College+%26+Career+Center+Today

Many students look towards the idea of going to college or university after high school. Not many have the resources or knowledge of how to begin applying for colleges or financial aid. Fortunately, Poly has a place where students can visit and ask questions about college and how to prepare for their future. 

Located on the first floor of the 800 building is the College and Career Center. Here, you can talk to advisors about college and work experience. Students from all grades are welcome to visit the room and take advantage of the resources offered.

The head of the College and Career Center is Sylvia Womack. As a high school student, she knew she wanted to be an advisor because she liked working with people. After gaining a degree in sociology, she began her career path that led her to where she is now. She worked for the city for seven years with the Youth Opportunity Center. This gave her experience in working with other high schools and helping students begin internships and prepare them for career positions. Her time at YOC allowed Womack to further her career path to becoming the head of a College and Career Center and helping students discover what they want to do. 

Along with Womack, students can meet two USC college advisors, Casie Bonstein and Enrique Ruiz. Both advisors have been where many students are now and are using their knowledge to help make things easier for future college and university students.

Bonstein enjoys being able to be someone that the students can look to for support and motivation for their future. She had her own advisors during school and was thankful to have support from her parents. She enjoyed her college experience and hopes she can provide students with the same resources she had. She said, “I like you guys, you’re all really smart, creative, and talented. You’re all college material and you need someone to help you out with that and here I am.”

Ruiz is a recent graduate of UC Merced. He said during his years in high school, he was also advised by someone who helped him learn better about college and applications. Due to that, he wanted to give back in the same sense. Growing up in the Long Beach area, he knows many students are first-generation and low-income. He wants to help students realize that college can be an option and possibly lead them forward in the future.

There are many services at the center that students can take advantage of. Inside the room, you can talk to the advisors, browse college pamphlets, or sit and work on any applications you have. You can also view their page on the LBPoly website to gain access to scholarship opportunities, any jobs around town, and learn when college representatives are going to visit Poly. When talking to Bonstein and Ruiz, you get the opportunity to ask questions from people who have experienced what college is like. They’ll be there to discuss what it is you want to do after high school and research which path may be best for you.

The center isn’t just for seniors applying to colleges. Anyone of any grade is welcome to walk in and see how they can prepare for their senior year. The College and Career Center is a place where people want to talk and give you all the information they have. You can learn about the Early Academic Outreach Program, the Upward Bound program, and many more programs that prepare you for college.

One of Womack’s favorite parts of in working with students is making students aware of their opportunities. She wants students to be as informed as they can about their different options after high school. Going to college isn’t the only way to gain success and if you do want to go to college, you don’t have to be the perfect student. She wants to show students the different avenues they can take to achieve the goals they want. Womack recommends students use the center’s resources as often as they can: “Don’t wait until the last minute to come. I would say start as soon as you can. Come in here at least once or twice a year up until senior year. Senior year you wanna be in here as often as possible so we can help you with the college process or with whatever plan you have after high school. The sooner you start that process, it makes it easier for you when you’re a senior. You can put a lot less on your plate if you plan ahead of time.”

However, the College and Career Center doesn’t only have to be a place where you talk about college. Ruiz said he knows that when talking about college, the topics can fall under “This is due now, and this is due next, you gotta do this,” so he welcomes students to come in and talk about other topics and even get to know more about Bonstein and himself. He said, “There is a lot of stuff you can relate to us about. Don’t be afraid, just come in and talk to us. If you’re interested in anything after high school or what life is like after. It doesn’t have to be college, it can be work, it can be trade schools, or options you might have. Just talk to us.”

Bonstein hopes every student visits the center, she says that if she can help as many students as she can by easing the tensions of thinking about college and life after high school, then she feels that the job is being done correctly. Her favorite motto for the center is: “You come into the College and Career Center feeling pretty stressed out, but leave feeling a little better about [life] after high school.”

As advisors, both Bonstein and Ruiz hold education to a high standard. Bonstein looks for a more equitable future for higher education and hopes that the students she advises are a part of it. Ruiz values the education he received and pursued and hopes that other students can see their education in the same way.

You can visit room 801 for any advice about life, after high school, and how to prepare for your future. You can also sign up for a 15-minute in-person appointment with the link on their Instagram bio, @lbpolycollegencareer along with visiting their page on the LBPoly school website.