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Summer pre-college academy gives students a leg up

At a time of year when students struggle to get back into the school routine, Pittsburg High sophomore Hayley Preston is hitting the books more confident in her studies and in her future than ever.

While many of her peers were sleeping in this summer, Preston was up in the wee hours, making the long commute by BART to the UC Berkeley campus. Rather than hanging out at the mall or working odd jobs, she spent the summer exploring literary texts, graphing trigonometric functions and learning her way around a large college campus.

“It helped to make me a better student and to give me the idea of what the college life would be,” said Preston. She was one of 250 Bay Area students to participate in Berkeley’s Pre-College Academy (PCA), a six-week summer intensive for 10th- through 12th-graders from Bay Area public schools in disadvantaged communities.

UC reaches roughly 5,000 students a year through summer programs like PCA that give low-income and first-generation college-going students a chance to experience college-level coursework and campus life.

See the UC Newsroom for Communications Coordinator Nicole Freeling’s full story, including video.

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