Virginia Tech will host the 2016 Hispanic College Institute this summer from Aug. 1-4.

The three-day program is for Hispanic high school sophomores and juniors in Commonwealth of Virginia. The Virginia Latino Higher Education Network (VALHEN) started the event in 2012 to combat myths and misconceptions about the college search process and prepare Hispanic students for college. In 2015, the Office of the Vice Provost for Enrollment and Degree Management reached out to VALHEN to host the institute here at Virginia Tech.

The White House recently recognized VALHEN and the Hispanic College Institute as a “Bright Spot in Hispanic Education,” listing the program in its national online catalog that features various programs, models, organizations, and initiatives that support and invest in the educational attainment of Hispanics. The designation is part of the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The initiative seeks to leverage these Bright Spots to encourage collaboration between stakeholders focused on similar issues in sharing data-driven approaches, promising practices, peer advice, and effective partnerships, ultimately resulting in increased support for the educational attainment of the Hispanic community.

Students who attend the Hispanic College Institute participate in workshops and seminars to learn about admissions, financial aid, and the college search process. They also meet with faculty and professionals to talk about their academic and career interests. There are fun activities as well to help build community and friendships among participants and organizers.

“The goal of the Hispanic College Institute is for students to learn what college is like and what they can gain from furthering their education,” said Juan Espinoza, director of diversity and access initiatives in Enrollment and Degree Management at Virginia Tech and president of VALHEN. “For many students who attend the institute, it’s their first visit to a college campus. We want them to leave with tools and knowledge so they feel confident that they can be competitive college applicants.”

Students can apply for the program on the VALHEN website. Applications will open Friday, Feb. 19. Applicants should be rising juniors or rising seniors who are enrolled full-time in a Virginia high school with a grade point average of 2.5 or above (on a 4.0 scale).

The institute also needs professional volunteers for the event. More information will be available for those interested in volunteering in late spring.

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