Binders, blood drives and grade checks might be the first words that come to mind when you hear AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), but there lies a whole other side to the program that many don’t know about.
AVID’s main goal is getting students admitted to college. Through activities, tips and requirements over the four years of high school, AVID leads students to the path of success. One of the first things AVID students learn is organization, this is where the binders come to play. A three ring binder is used to store work and notes from classes which prevents students from losing papers and shoving others into random crevices of their folders and backpacks. Cornell notes are taken during classes as a better way to study and retain information. Students also have weekly grade checks, keeping them on track and informed on how they are doing. When asked what AVID’s goal is, senior John Ledesma, a four-year AVID student said, “To help prepare kids for college by helping them take notes, teaching them how to study and how to ask for help.”
When it comes to more long-term benefits, AVID students are required to complete their A-G requirements for college, which differ from regular graduation requirements. By doing so, the students are eligible to apply for college. Senior Adriana Gonzales, another four-year AVID student, shared that students started the application process during junior year, even beginning the FAFSA forms. Ledesma also shared that students are required to apply for CSUs and UCs (even if they weren’t planning to) as juniors and scholarships as seniors. Community service is another requirement for AVID students which helps their college applications stand out amongst others. Students are informed of the community service opportunities available, reducing the stress of looking for where to volunteer.
Besides requirements, AVID students have other activities and opportunities that broaden their abilities and knowledge. Socratic seminars occasionally take place in AVID, the seminars teach students how to voice their opinions and allow them to hear other viewpoints and perspectives. Guest speakers are also invited to come speak with students and answer their questions. Gonzales also mentions the tutorials students create to help understand difficult topics. TRFs are tutorials done on Tuesdays and Thursdays where students help their peers on school work. Having peers teach is quite beneficial as students tend to relay information differently than teachers, sometimes in easier terms.
AVID prepares students for college through many opportunities, activities and requirements; it may not be for everyone, but is certainly a viable option. When asked why he recommends AVID, Ledesma said, “It really does help in the long run and has taught me that if you really want to go to college, there is always a way.”