Something wonderful is happening in Boyle Heights: More and more middle and high school students are thinking about and planning for college.
However, just as the demand for college preparation assistance is growing, school budgets are getting cut and some students are finding that this is curtailing their college planning strategy.
But there may be an alternative.
While most people think of libraries primarily as offering materials for reading and research, the Los Angeles Public Library ”“ which encompasses the Central Library and 72 branches in neighborhoods throughout the city, including three in Boyle Heights ”“ also offers programs that help students prepare for college.
Student Smart: Tools for Becoming a Better Student is a free system-wide library program that offers SAT, PSAT, and ACT Practice Test sessions, as well as seminars on topics such as developing good study habits, test taking strategies, the college admissions process and financial aid.
There is also a special seminar just for middle school students that aims to prepare them to make the right choices in high school that will lead to a successful transition to college. Student Smart is a partnership between the Los Angeles Public Library and the Princeton Review, and while these programs actually take place in libraries, tests are proctored and seminars led by Princeton Review staff.
Of course, just because libraries now offer college preparatory practice tests and seminars does not mean that they no longer provide the services that they have long been known for. Libraries still provide books and other materials to help prepare for various academic tests. Databases and friendly librarians are also on hand to help students research and navigate the constantly growing universe of information and technology.
So while libraries can’t take the place of college counselors, perhaps the resources available at the local public library will help more students reach their dreams of attending a good college.
Contact Young Adult Services at 213-228-7480 or visit your local public library to learn more about practice tests and other services offered at LAPL libraries throughout the city.
Upcoming seminars in Boyle Heights:
Lupie Leyva is a Boyle Heights native and senior librarian at Robert Louis Stevenson Branch.