Silver Scholars program urges top students to attend college
The Silver Scholars program continues its 12th year with success in awarding the top 1,600 eighth grade students in Nevada and providing them with the information about the opportunity for higher education and the steps needed to enter and excel in college.
This year, the University bestowed the scholastic honor to the top 15 percent of eight grade students in 17 middle schools in northern Nevada and the top 10 percent of students in 11 middle schools in Las Vegas.
The program was designed to encourage young students in pursuing high academic standards in high school and to have them thinking about college as early as possible.
"The Silver Scholars program gives the students the idea of college that they take with them as they enter into high school," said Juana Reynoza-Gomez, coordinator of admissions and student orientation.
The Silver Scholars are honored in a ceremony held in their schools and are presented a certificate, scholastic pin and a package of resources for scholarships and information about college. The students and their families can also ask about the University and about general college information.
The Silver Scholars ceremony can also present them the chance to learn more about the process of applying and going to college, especially for those who are first generation college students, Reynoza-Gomez said.
"Some of the students and parents don't know where to begin," Reynoza-Gomez said. "They're not familiar with the process of applying to college."
The program began in 1995 under the guidance of the Alumni Association, but the Office for Prospective Students took over the program in 2004, according to Reynoza-Gomez. It awarded juniors in high school when the Office for Prospective Students took on the project, but the office soon realized that students may receive the information too late. The program then began to target the top eighth grade students.
"We wanted to stress that they are in a good position to go to college while they were still in the eighth grade," Reynoza-Gomez said. "They can begin making choices about what classes they want to take in high school and which universities they may want to attend."
The program doesn't just endeavor to influence them to come to the University, but to seek a higher education at any institution.
"We would like to see them here in the future," Reynoza-Gomez said. "But the real emphasis is to have them go to any university."