TIA College Visit Tour

How do students make informed decisions about where to apply for college? Most students need more information than what is shown on a website. No guidebook, testimonial or website will give them a better feel for a school than they will get by seeing it for themselves. Many students change their minds after a college visit. This is obviously preferable to changing their minds after they enroll. When it comes to research on which college to attend, there is no substitute for a visit to a campus to help figure out if that college is the right fit. TIA staff and parents take a group of interested students every year on college visit tours. The students envision life beyond high school and can imagine themselves on campus. They meet with current college students, faculty and admissions staff, and explore the local surroundings. They also get the chance to see or do something fun along the way too.

2018 Trip

This year the TIA college visit tour group visited the Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, AZ, on the first day. The second day they visited the beautiful campus of Northern Arizona University. The last day they toured  Grand Canyon University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

What did the students have to say about this trip?

This trip definitely made me reconsider where I was going to go to college, as of now I'm thinking about Embry-Riddle for space physics or GCU for business management.” ~ Janelle Moreno “There's something different about visiting a college campus instead of just hearing things about it.” ~ Alonzo Rodriguez “It made me think a lot about going somewhere different than I originally planned. Experiencing the campus life really changes the way you look at college.” ~ Taylor Pineda

What were some of the student's favorite experiences?

Feeding animals at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, swimming in an indoor pool when it was freezing cold outside, hanging out with the other students who have all become like a family to each other, and a visit to the planetarium on one of the college campuses to see the planets the way they’ve never been viewed before. 100% of all graduating students at TIA get accepted to colleges. This tour is one more tool that helps accomplish that.

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TIA college visit tour 2018

How Early Should You Prepare for College?

...And What Does That Look Like?

TIA is a free charter school with 100% of the graduating seniors accepted to college. That is an amazing statistic and shows the level of commitment that TIA staff has for their students. They specifically create opportunities for students to grow in leadership, travel and have experiences that prepare them for college. But many people feel that college planning only begins in high school.

Prepare for College in Grade School and Middle School

At a young age, parents and teachers should start talking with children about what careers spark their interest. At TIA, preparing students with the college mindset starts in Kindergarten. When they are in middle school, students should visit occupations that interest them. Career fairs are another option like the one Tucson International Academy has every year. Even though the student may not choose a career path at this point, a general idea will help guide them towards the right college. Believe or not, students can start applying for scholarships in grade school as young as 5 years old. While you may not be able to use these scholarships right away, the money can be put in the bank to help pay for college later.

College Prep in High School

TIA offers many extras that help each student get accepted to college like assistance from a Student Success Coordinator (currently Mr. Basurto). The school also offers students opportunities to take trips to visit college campuses in person, as well a sponsored trips to foreign countries. TIA hosts high school events like Senior Day, FAFSA Night, Senior Interviews, Facing Dragons and the Career Fair, which are all geared towards helping their students go to college and be successful in life.

College Planning Freshman & Sophomore Year

All freshman and sophomore students start choosing high school courses based on college requirements. Colleges require the basic general courses such as two years each of Social Studies and Science, four years each of Mathematics and English Language Arts, and two years of Foreign Language. Certain colleges, however, may require more advanced classes such as Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, and others.

College Planning Junior Year

Junior students should be signed up and well prepared for college PSAT, SAT, & ACT entrance tests that are taken throughout the year. Free practice tests are available on various online websites. This is also when many high school students start researching scholarships, although some may have started in previous years.

College Planning Senior Year

The summer before a students senior year they should be applying for scholarships if they haven’t already started their search prior to that. By the beginning of their senior year, students should have narrowed down their college choices and applied to those colleges (if they haven’t they should do so now) and filled out their FAFSA information online. While some seniors wait until the spring of their senior year to apply for scholarships, it’s best to have started this process well before then. The earlier you start the process, the less overwhelming it can be and the more options you will have at receiving scholarship money.

TIA is a College Prep School - How They Help Their Students

TIA is very serious about their role as a college prep school. The position of Student Success Coordinator was created with basically one goal: to give individual attention to every TIA student on their way to college. That navigation starts as early as the student’s freshman year and follows through with help applying to colleges and for financial aid. The Student Success Coordinator gives one-on-one attention to each student. Being able to help them with their particular circumstances, abilities and interests are what makes the difference at TIA. Each student is given the assistance he or she needs to fill out applications, write the required essays, and explore the financial aid and scholarship options. That is why 100% of TIA's graduating students get accepted into college!  

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2017 Career Fair Creates Job Opportunity Awareness

This spring, TIA students had the exciting opportunity to attend the TIA Career Fair. Booths from a variety of professionals from all sorts of career fields sent representatives to give talks, as small groups of students rotated from booth to booth to get a hands-on idea of what great career paths are available to them. All too often high school graduates have ideas of what they would like to pursue for a career, but they also have many uncertainties.  To start college and decide to change a major can cause wasted time and money. This was true for Randy Harris, who had a booth at this year’s career fair. In high school he loved math and science and wanted to be an engineer but had no idea what kind. After his first semester at the University of Arizona, he realized he was in the wrong place. Now a civil engineer, Mr. Harris went on to say, “What I want to do for these kids is to show them the different kinds of engineers that are out there, so they don’t make the same mistake that I did. To help these kids get a feel for what they want ahead of time.” Not Just a Job, But a Life-Long Vocation The students perform hands-on activities. They spend quality time at each booth with real professionals who work in the real world. They learn about what careers are out there for young people, which is the key goal for TIA in putting on this fair each year. As Officer Heather Mau puts it, “I like working with the students. Whether they work in law enforcement or not, they are our future. Here, they can learn anything. There are options.” Heather has been with the Tucson Police Department for over 10 years now and has participated in the TIA career fair for 6 years, putting on an impressive display of law enforcement personnel, vehicles, and equipment. She fully understands the importance of a hands-on, shoulder-to-shoulder experience for students. Officer Mau explained, “I didn’t plan on being an officer. The way TIA sets this up gives students huge options to go and learn all that they can ahead of time."  Knowing is Half the Battle Francisco, a client relations representative with Arizona Bilingual News shared, “It’s about the opportunities that TIA brings. They put these careers in front of you and you can match your goals with those. Most of us didn’t get those options, at least not where I am from in Mexico. It’s wonderful what TIA is doing for these students.” TIA’s plan for career day is that the kids come to the booths in small groups for a good taste of all that is out there. Students have a lot of opportunities to see a wide variety of careers. One career fair veteran was asked why he thought TIA stood out and why he’s been willing to host a booth every year since the beginning. “Their emphasis is on college prep," he said. "They cater to people who sometimes don’t know that they have the options for a good education.” It’s a Family Another Tucson United School District retiree and a regular at the TIA career fair said, “As an outsider, I can see that TIA has a special caring connection, a family feel to it. There’s a one-to-one relationship between the teachers, faculty and students.” When asked why he valued the job opportunity options students get at TIA, he responded, “The value comes down to these real applications. It’s not abstract, not academia. These are real examples. When the kids see these tables, they realize these people are doing real things in life and they get excited about it.”

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Business Week 2016

Business Week is held at TIA in December.  All students in the business class, grades 8-12, are required to come to school in business attire, girls in appropriate business dress and boys in suits and ties.  Everyone learns to develop their sense of professionalism and work on their resumes. Then they have “Interview Day,” where local business owners interview the students. It is a time for the students to build skills they need when they enter the workforce. Besides the great experience this provides for future job hunting, some students actually receive internships and jobs after their interviews.

Presentation Days

Included in Business week is "Presentation Days." In the business class prior to Presentation Days, the students create a business. They do this by looking at the world around them and thinking of a business idea that will solve an environmental, logistical or a social problem. The students work in small groups for a couple of months, hash out ideas to make a business come to life, become CEO's, web designers, accountants, and create websites, brochures, business plan, etc. in three languages (English, Spanish, Chinese). Then they share their business ideas in those three languages at Presentation Days to different business people. Everyone who attends listens intently, asks questions and takes lots of pictures. It's an amazing experience for all involved.
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8th Grade Business Class Students

TIA Supports Student Success!

Tucson International Academy has teachers, administrators and office staff like every other school. But did you know that TIA created a unique position that most schools don’t have? Because staff at TIA takes their role as a college prep school very seriously, they created the position of Student Success Coordinator. The person in this position has basically one goal: to give individualized attention to each and every TIA student on the way to college. That navigation starts as early as the student's freshman year but culminates in the actual college and financial aid application process during the senior year.

Again 100% of the Senior Class have been Accepted to College!

With a record number of students in the graduating class this year, the importance of the Student Success Coordinator has truly been appreciated. Every one of the 26  seniors has received at least one, if not multiple, acceptance letters! This continues the rich tradition TIA has of 100% of its graduating seniors being accepted to college. That is an amazing statistic! Compare it to a study conducted by The Arizona Board of Regents a few years ago which  found that only 57% of Arizona high school graduates went on to college.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

What makes these numbers even more impressive is that most of the students are the first generation in their family to go to college. Financial challenges along with other barriers are being hit head on and TIA students are breaking family tradition in the best way possible! The impact on the families and the community in general is awe-inspiring. For many families, these college-bound students are taking the first steps out of a poverty cycle that has been in place for generations.

Student Success Coordinator

Virginia Watahomigie, TIA’s current Student Success Coordinator, believes that the individual attention given to each student and his or her particular circumstances, abilities and interests is what makes the difference. The key is to make certain each student is given the assistance needed to fill out applications, write the required essays, and explore the financial and scholarship options. The students are given class time to prepare, which not only allows for hands-on assistance from TIA staff, but is also vital, as many students do not have access to a computer or the internet at home.

College Campuses Field Trip

TIA students were also given the opportunity to travel all over Arizona to visit college campuses. They of course visited the University of Arizona right here in Tucson, but also visited Arizona State University and Grand Canyon College in Phoenix and Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. While in Flagstaff they even headed over for a side trip to the Grand Canyon!  This trip helped the students to visualize themselves on a college campus, making the whole dream that much more real.

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Own Your Success Event 2015

Pro Certified Results Coach Brodie Whitney was invited to share his “Own Your Success” message with TIA students and parents for the second year this October. The Own Your Success event teaches high school students how to turn dreams and aspirations into reality.

Dreams and How to Achieve Them

Most students have dreams of a better life, one that includes getting a job they like, a decent salary for that job and to have their own place to live. But how do they achieve those dreams? How can they turn those dreams into achievable expectations? Attending college is one of the most solid steps to achieving their dreams. But what if they’re having trouble envisioning college in their future? Coach Brodie, from Robbins Research International, is a powerful motivator. Before the event, he gets a snapshot of the particular needs and strengths of TIA’s high school students from TIA’s staff and leaders, which then allows him to specifically aim his coaching and motivation to the unique attributes of TIA students.

Topics Covered

Coach Brodie covered these topics for the students:
  • Know What You Want
  • Know Your Why?
  • Take ACTION!
  • Evaluate Your Results
  • Adjust and Refine Until You Hit Your Mark
Coach Brodie declared, “Your identity is stronger than your wants. How you define yourself today determines the results you will live with tomorrow. By choosing courage over apathy today, you lead yourself and others to a new tomorrow.”

What Students Had to Say

After the event, some of TIA’s  students shared what they learned from Coach Brodie. “Anyone can dream but not everyone will chase their dream. So we just have to be the ones who dream and chase our dreams…It’s our power to chase what we want to be in the future.” “Success has different meaning for different people…If you fail, it doesn’t mean you can’t succeed anymore…If you fail, it’s something to motivate you to keep going.” “Success has different definitions to each individual. It doesn’t always have to be about money. It can be about what makes you happy. What do you want to achieve in life? Take big or small steps to get there. Always be uplifting. Never focus on the past. Move forward.”

More About Coach Brodie

Coach Brodie decided to interview, and learn from, the most successful people to find out what they were doing to set and achieve their goals. Then he took what he found and used it to change his own life.  Now he teaches what he learned to adults and students around the world so they, too, can set goals to and become successful at life.  

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Own Your Success

Junior Senior Day

Junior Senior Day was created a few years ago at TIA to inform high school students and their parents about the upcoming big changes that are ahead for them regarding the preparations  and transitions from high school to college. This day was designed to help students and parents in many areas:
  • To make sure they know about college assessment test dates and costs
  • To know which college assessment tests they need for the state or university they wish to attend
  • How to write a resume
  • How to write a proper letter to the college describing themselves, and to adjust it for each college they apply to
  • How to apply for scholarships, and the need to apply for different ones; guidelines where to apply, dates they need to apply by, etc.
  • How to be careful of scholarship scams
  • High school transcripts and what to do with them
  • How they can get dual credits from local colleges while in high school
  • Tutoring help
  • Title 1 help
  • Attending “Saturday” school to make sure they graduate on time with the proper credits to go on to a college
  • Help arrange for fieldtrips to local or out of state colleges
  • Help with other events such as Close Up field trips
  • Inform them of the dates and costs of upcoming events such as the Cotillion and Graduation

Dual Credits

Previously TIA worked with Pima College so that students could get dual credits while still in high school. Now they are working in tandem with GCU - Grand Canyon University as it is easier to transfer university credits to other universities.

College Tours

TIA asks for input about where each student would like to go to college and tries to organize a tour of that college for the student. Then they will help the student navigate the process to apply and get accepted. One student this year is interested in attending Stanford University. TIA is making the arrangements to visit that college with that student.

Close Up

This program is designed to give students an inside look at democracy at work in action. In addition to their one-of-a-kind Washington High School Program, they customize trips for groups from around the country. These are tailor-made to meet the specific needs of each group. Last year’s Close Up event was in Washington to learn how other nations work together with the U.S. This year the event is in Hawaii.  

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2015 Career Fair: A Day of Hope and Possibilities

Barriers. Challenges. Hurdles. What  do you call those seemingly impossible roadblocks that you encounter in life? What are your current obstacles? Lack of money? Lack of support? Past failures? Meet Jessica Cox … her challenge is having been born without arms. Arizona’s own Jessica Cox was the much-anticipated keynote speaker at TIA’s annual Career Fair held April 2nd, 2015. She spoke, not so much about her challenges, but more about her accomplishments. Where just learning to brush her teeth or dress herself could have been the accomplishments she shared, Jessica amazed and inspired us all with stories of how she  became the world's first licensed armless airplane pilot. She also shared how she has been named the first armless black-belt in the American Taekwondo Association. There’s nothing like a little perspective to motivate and inspire! Suddenly our own challenges didn’t seem like roadblocks at all, but more like pebbles on our path to just be swept aside! Students’ dreams of going to college to become a doctor, a police officer, a teacher, or a scientist did not seem so unattainable. In fact, with the many other professional partners and businesses that are represented at the career fair, doors of opportunity seem to be flying open at every turn! Some dreams were solidified, other dreams were born. It was a day full to the brim with possibilities, fresh ideas and options! But these concepts of hope are not new to TIA students. They are already overcomers in their own right. Every single senior has been accepted to college and all are the first generation in their families to do so. TIA students already have the ability to see boulders in the road as merely stepping stones to higher ground! So again this year, TIA’s annual Career Fair was a roaring success. We are so grateful to all those in our community who partner with our school to make this day of hope and possibilities a reality.  

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2015 Career Fair

College Scholarships Pave the Way to Higher Education for TIA Students

It’s truly amazing when one realizes that every single senior from Tucson International Academy has been accepted to college. But without college scholarships, many of these students’ dream for a university level education would end before it even started! That is why TIA administrators like Mr. Lin Wu put so much time and effort into guiding each student through the scholarship application process.

How Do I Complete a College Scholarship Application?

Students are not only encouraged to apply for several college scholarships, but are guided through the sometimes complicated process. Each scholarship has its own required elements. Each application will not only include completion of basic information about the student, but often requires the applicant to write an essay. The required essay can  range in topics, but generally asks the students to write about their goals and why they would be a good candidate to receive scholarship funding. TIA provides students with the guidance and editing they need to write the very best essays possible.

How Much Does a College Scholarship Cover?

College scholarships vary in the amount of money offered and the length of time funding can be used. The biggest scholarships are those known as providing a “full ride” where all four years of college are covered for tuition, fees, books and sometimes a living allowance. Smaller scholarships combined together can also end up providing what is essentially a full ride for students. That is one of the reasons why it is wise to apply for as many scholarships as possible. Some scholarship programs have a requirement that the student must maintain good academic standing to continue receiving the annual scholarship.

What are Some of the College Scholarships Available?

Some students at TIA are encouraged to apply for the prestigious Gates Millenium Scholarship sponsored by Bill Gates and his wife. This scholarship can provide a full ride for 4 years and requires it’s applicants not only to be in good academic standing but also to be able to present themselves as well-rounded members of their community. Because many TIA students are from a Hispanic heritage, many apply to receive financial help from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. This scholarship program also reviews its candidates using academic and social standards. Certain universities have their own scholarship funds. Northern Arizona University, for instance, sponsors the Lumberjack Scholarship which is based on academic achievement. For lower income families, another option is FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Federal Student Aid is a part of the U.S. Department of Education and is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. It provides federal grants, loans, and work-study funds each year to students for college. Without college scholarships, many students would not be able to attend school beyond their senior year at Tucson International Academy. Helping students apply for these scholarships as they prepare for a higher education is just another integral part of preparing our students for a global society.    

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Article by Betty Kruszka~TheJ3Effect

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100% of TIA Seniors are College Bound!

Just let that sink in for a moment … 100% of Tucson International Academy high school graduates have been accepted to a university level education. Wait. WHAT? Every single high school senior graduating from TIA is college bound? Yes! But hold on, there’s more! In every known case, these students are the first generation in their family to attend college! How is that even possible? It’s in the Air! It is possible because of the atmosphere that permeates every hallway, every classroom, every event, every activity, and every field trip at TIA. It’s possible because TIA has teachers and administrators dedicated to helping every student to overcome any and every challenge hindering them from being college bound after high school. No exceptions. Custom Designed Plans for Each Student Although the seeds to be college bound get planted early for even the youngest TIA students, the wheels really start turning their sophomore year of high school. An individualized plan is mapped out based on each student’s academic position, strengths and weaknesses, interests, and goals for the future. Just as no two students are exactly alike, no two student plans are alike. Yet each student has a plan that insures graduating on time and having all tests necessary for college acceptance completed by the end of their junior year. Amazing, Dedicated Staff The students also begin the college application process at end of their junior year. Starting then and continuing into their senior year in high school, these students are supported by a group of dedicated teachers and administrators who literally walk each individual student through the sometimes complicated process. Students and their advisor meet on a weekly basis to navigate completion of applications, entrance essays, and responses to inquiries from other colleges. They are also given guidance as they investigate scholarship opportunities, and fine tune their career goals. Going the Extra Mile - Literally! Additionally, Tucson International Academy literally goes the extra mile in helping college bound students. They plan and orchestrate field trips for juniors and seniors to visit to all the Arizona university campuses plus a couple campuses in California. This gives the students an introduction to what college life looks like and also provides them the ability to create a vision in their minds of what their lives could be. Every single high school senior graduating from TIA is college bound? Yes! And it’s very much TIA’s intention to continue with this amazing track record! Interested in a school that can declare 100% of their students are college bound? Enroll Online Now!
College bound TIASeniors