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University Relations

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September 27, 2005
Contact: Lisa Pinamonti Kress, director, Office of Admissions and Scholarships, (785) 864-3911.

KU invites Spanish-speaking students, parents to campus to learn about college

LAWRENCE -- To serve the growing Spanish-speaking population of Kansas and the Kansas City area, the University of Kansas Office of Admissions and Scholarships has scheduled several on-campus programs especially for Spanish-speaking high school students and their parents.

This fall's programs, for high school seniors, will take place Oct. 27 and Dec. 7. Registration will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis, and participants are encouraged to register now by calling (785) 864-3911.

Students in grades nine through 11 are invited to visit KU on March 8 or April 22. A registration date for these sessions will be announced later.

The sessions are for members of TRIO programs, federally funded programs to help serve low-income, first-generation and underrepresented groups. It includes students in programs such as Upward Bound, Talent Search, Gear Up and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). LULAC is a talent search program in secondary schools that helps Latino students graduate.

During these visit days, students will be able to learn about admission to KU, housing opportunities, support services and financial aid options. Claudia Mercado, associate director of the KU Office of Admissions and Scholarships, said the visit days for students and parents have been growing in popularity during the past five years as word about their availability has spread.

"We work directly with community groups and nontraditional students," Mercado said. "Word gets around and we get contacted and asked if they can bring their students to visit KU. The parents want to just keep coming back."

To work with Spanish-speaking students, the Office of Admissions and Scholarships has two staff members and student members of their Multicultural Recruitment Team who all speak Spanish. In addition, Anny Fung has joined the office to provide Spanish translations for the KU Web site, promotional brochures and other printed material.

Mercado said the office has had staff members and students who can speak fluently with Spanish-speaking families for more than five years. During this time, they have hosted visit days on the Lawrence campus in English and Spanish for high school and middle school students and have been recruiting students at Wichita's Horace Mann elementary and middle schools since 2003. Students from the Horace Mann Dual Language Magnet School will visit Nov. 16 this year.

Other visit programs have included one for the Wichita Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in May 2005 and two for Spanish-speaking parents from Kansas City along with days for middle school students, juniors in high school and parents who are LULAC members.

The events differ according to the ages of the participants. Elementary and middle school students learn what they need to be doing to prepare for attending a university, and older students learn more specifically about how to enroll and where to get financial aid. They receive a checklist of what they need to do to apply to KU and when the deadlines are. Presentations during parents' days are usually a more informal dialogue. Most of the programs start off with registration and a welcome at the Visitor's Center or at the Kansas Union; tours of campus including the union, the Student Recreation Center and Allen Fieldhouse; lunch at Mrs. E's, KU's student housing cafeteria; and an opportunity to listen to a student panel.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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