FAQ

COLLEGE CHANGES EVERYTHING

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

PROGRAM QUESTIONS

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO JOIN REALITY CHANGERS?

Reality Changers Programs (College Town & Scholarship City):

  • Students must have weekly evening access to our program headquarters in central San Diego or our satellite location in Solana Beach (program is from 6:00pm – 9:00pm).
  • Students are typically from low-income households
  • Participants will typically be first-generation college students (parent, grandparents, and beyond did not attend college).
  • There is no GPA requirement of applicants. However, once students are ending their junior year in high school, they have an increased chance of entering the program if their GPA is a 3.0 or higher.
  • Students can be accepted into the program as early as eighth grade. However, most of our students are accepted in the ninth through twelfth grades.
  • Students can apply as early as sixth grade and as late as early June after their junior year.
  • To remain on our applicant list, students must submit their progress reports and semester grades every six weeks.
  • Student must complete all parts of the application
    • Main application booklet + consent form
    • Financial worksheet
    • Handwritten personal story answering two prompts
    • Optional:  Any achievements, awards, letters of recommendation

HOW DO I APPLY TO THE PROGRAM?

For students who are interested in applying for the program, the first thing they should do is download the student application, fill it out, and then send/bring it to us (by mail or in person). After we receive the application, we will send the student a request for a handwritten story and a financial worksheet. All materials should be sent to our City Heights (Headquarters) location:

Reality Changers
3910 University Avenue
Suite 300-RC
San Diego, CA 92105

We typically review applications right before every semester, but we encourage students to apply as soon as possible to make sure complete (application + story + worksheet) applications are turned in by the next review. Application reviews for incoming seniors begin in early June (at the end of junior year).

HOW DO I FIND OUT THE STATUS OF A STUDENT'S ENROLLMENT?

To find the status of an application, please contact:
Mariel Mauricio
619-516-2222
Mariel@RealityChangers.org

WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO STAY IN THE COLLEGE TOWN PROGRAM?

Once accepted, students are expected to attend program every week on their assigned night. Students are also expected to bring their homework each evening of program so their tutors can assist them. Through consistent program attendance and upholding program expectations, all students are expected to maintain a 3.0 GPA.  To qualify for a scholarship to UCSD’s Academic Connections, students must achieve a 3.5 GPA or higher.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SCHOLARSHIP CITY AND COLLEGE APPS ACADEMY?

Beginning in September 2016, the program offered to 12th graders at Headquarters and the Solana Beach satellite will be called “Scholarship City.”  All other programs serving 12th graders at other locations will continue to be called College Apps Academy

WHAT IS YOUR STUDENT-TO-STAFF RATIO?

College Town: We strive to have a student-to-tutor ratio of 1:1. Additionally, all College Town students have an Achievement Coach. The student to Achievement Coach ratio on any night is about 10:1.

College Apps Academy/Scholarship City: The student to instructor ratio for Scholarship City is about 20:1

Additionally, there are tutors and mentors in Scholarship City that help students and staff with the materials and tasks.

WHAT ACTIVITIES WILL COLLEGE TOWN STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN?

College Town consists of the following components:

 

  1. A three-hour weekly leadership program, which includes SAT/ACT prep, public speaking practice, home-cooked family dinners, inspirational 30-minute lessons, guest speakers, a leadership development seminar, and 75 minutes of 1:1 tutoring
  2. Daily 1:1 tutoring opportunities
  3. UCSD’s Academic Connections – a three-week summer residential program where students earn college credit
  4. A three-day leadership camp during the week before school starts
  5. An eight-week Princeton Review course for SAT/ACT preparation
  6. Approximately 40 weekends of community service opportunities
  7. Expected participation in a school club or sport
  8. By enrolling in the program, students also agree to be randomly drug-tested at least once per year

WHAT ACTIVITIES WILL 12TH GRADERS PARTICIPATE IN?

College Apps Academy/Scholarship City is exclusively for seniors preparing for college. We help senior students with everything that has to do with college, from initial searches through final acceptance and financial aid. Students are eligible to earn scholarships for College Apps Academy, like they would for college, to offset some of the costs.

CAN STUDENTS WHO HAVE NOT BEEN ACCEPTED SIT IN ON A PROGRAM?

No.  Out of fairness to other students on the waiting list, students must wait until they are accepted before visiting a program night.

DO YOU PROVIDE MEALS?

Because the College Town and Scholarship City programs do not have any admission costs, we do ask that families contribute to our organization and programs a few times throughout the year. One of those opportunities is that each family provides dinner for 50 people twice per school year. So, Reality Changers does provide dinners that are cooked by our students’ families.

DO YOU PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION TO EVENTS?

Transportation is dependent on the event. Students are expected to be able to get to and from the program each week. Reality Changers has a door-to-door policy regarding students leaving the program. We must see students leave our program doors and enter the car doors of the parents/guardians that pick them up from program. Students are not allowed to walk/bike/skateboard home because we cannot be certain that such students make it home.

As for events, transportation is provided on an event-by-event basis. Students are notified in advance if they will need a ride for an event.

WHAT SAFETY MEASURES ARE TAKEN FOR THE NIGHTLY PROGRAMS?

In addition to leaving the nightly program premises (see transportation question), there are safety precautions that Reality Changers upholds throughout the whole evening. All program visitors check into the lobby check-in table. Additionally, the building doors lock at 7:00pm, so no other guests should be able to access the program space after this time without notice to the program staff. Except for other regular programming/building tenants in the building, program visitors have a strict and chaperoned visit of the program. Our kitchen staff attempts to be up-to-date on students’ dietary restrictions. In case of a medical emergency, some program leaders on staff are CPR + First Aid certified. We would also take other necessary medical or emergency precautions as needed. Please see the student medical and participation consent form (in the student application) for specifics.

If students have allergies or situations that need attention, they should always report these to their Achievement Coach or program leader so the staff can take the necessary precautions.

WHAT SAFETY MEASURES ARE TAKEN FOR THE OFF-CAMPUS PROGRAMS?

For off-site programs and events for College Town, staff keep close track of students and the surrounding environment. Additionally, all rules that are typically honored at the program are enacted off-site. For example, the door-to-door policy when students leave programming (see transportation question).

HOW MANY VOLUNTEER HOURS ARE EXPECTED YEARLY FOR COLLEGE APPS ACADEMY STUDENTS?

Volunteer tutors are expected to commit to one entire program night per week for the entire school year. This means that tutors arrive at 5:45pm and leave at 9:00pm on their assigned night for every week that the students have school. If volunteers would like additional hours during the year, they are welcome to sign up for an additional program night or they can volunteer for special events and assignments. Special events include, but are not limited to community service, the scholarship celebration, and summer programming. We are also able to work with university students to accommodate their course requirements in terms of responsibilities and number of hours.

DO YOU PERFORM BACKGROUND CHECKS ON ALL STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS?

Yes, Reality Changers performs background checks on all staff and volunteers.

HOW DOES REALITY CHANGERS ASSIST WITH SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS?

Reality Changers’ team of college admission experts assist students with scholarships in three main ways:

  1. Providing an extensive list of available scholarships
  2. Supporting students in the creation of their essays by editing and giving feedback
  3. Helping students learn how to find scholarships and financial aid in college

WHEN ARE SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED?

For College Town students, scholarships to Academic Connections and Forest Home are awarded at the Scholarship Celebration in May.

Scholarship City and College Apps Academy students spend a great deal of time working on scholarships in the spring, and outside scholarships are typically awarded throughout the spring and summer.

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT REALITY CHANGERS ALUMNI?

Reality Changers supports program graduates in two main ways:

  1. Building a community of support within the program staff and graduates
  2. Partnering with colleges and universities to have onsite advocates and counselors for our students.