First generation, low income and disabled students can benefit from a variety of services offered by the TRIO/Student Support Services Program at Palomar College.
Supporting 225 students each year, TRIO provides participants with access to computers, printing, calculators and recorders, according to Patricia Rodriguez, staff assistant of the program. TRIO also assigns counselors to students and assists with obtaining textbooks.
The list of services is long. Participants of the program are given the opportunity to visit colleges and universities that they are interested in attending. They are in close contact with the sister program at California State University San Marcos, which allows many students who choose to transfer there the chance to continue to be a part of the program.
In addition to visiting potential colleges and universities, TRIO students are taken on various trips to different museums and exhibits. Last year they went to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, and this past fall they took a tour of the Body Exhibit in San Diego. They are currently in the process of planning a trip to take place this year, but have not yet decided on a location, Rodriguez said.
The program’s advisors also work with students throughout the transfer application process. They inform eligible students about different scholarships that they can apply to, help them complete all necessary forms, and make sure that they meet all of the deadlines.
What began in 1965 as just three programs making up TRIO, it has grown a great deal. There are now eight programs under the nationwide TRIO “umbrella,” according to Rodriguez. Student Support Services is one of the eight.
The program was established at Palomar College in 1984. Since then, their primary goal has been to assist members of the program on their journey to obtaining a bachelor’s degree, while also encouraging students to complete their associates degree, or certificate program. About 60 percent of students in the program leave Palomar College with an associates degree, certificate, and/or transfer to a four-year university, Rodriguez said.
Students involved in the program are given a place to meet, hang out and get to know each other. It is somewhere participants feel like they belong, “a space for them to grow and continue building,” according to Rodriguez.
“They feel like we create a family environment on campus,” Rodriguez added.
After students have left Palomar College, they usually remain in contact with members and staff of the program. According to Rodriguez, they try to touch base with alumni at least once a year. There are also events that allow alumni to return to Palomar and share their experience.
Palomar students that are interested in becoming a part of the TRIO program, can find the application on the website, http://www.palomar.edu/triosss/.
They are also encouraged to stop by the office located at TCB‐1 on Palomar’s San Marcos campus, where applications and additional information are available. Applications are accepted throughout the year.
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