College 101 Open House reveals mysteries of college

To many, college seems like a foreign country where they don’t understand the language, the customs or even how the monetary system works. This confusion leads some potential students to not even attempt to enter and makes parents reluctant to visit this strange land.

“College can be intimidating if no one in your family or circle of friends has been there, and it can scare away potential students and their parents,” said Denee Thomas, manager of the UHV Letting Education Achieve Dreams (LEAD) program at the University of Houston-Victoria. “Even if the kids brave this foreign frontier, they can feel very alone there without family support. Especially with first-generation college students, parents who want to be supportive just don’t know how.”

Parents and students can gain that knowledge at the College 101 Open House, a special clinic organized by the LEAD program in cooperation with The Victoria College. The free event will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Nov. 20 at The Victoria College Student Center, 2200 E. Red River. A light meal will be provided by the African American Chamber of Commerce.

Educator and motivational speaker Willie Pickens of Houston will teach parents how to improve their involvement with their children’s education at all levels and how to improve overall communication between parents and students.

Representatives of the G-Force, UHV students trained to mentor those new to the university world, will be available to answer questions students may have about college, Thomas said.

LEAD representatives also will be on hand to answer questions.

“We’re essentially opening an embassy for that mysterious land called ‘college’ to let people know all about how things work,” said Carolin DeLaVega, LEAD high school programs coordinator.

LEAD counselors can help students through the culture and language involved in getting admitted and registered for classes, and can guide students through the monetary system of financial aid, she said.

The event is sponsored by a grant from the Alcoa Foundation.

LEAD provides student support systems for a seamless transition from high school, to community college and then to UHV. These outreach services target Hispanics, first- generation college students, low-income and other traditionally underrepresented students.

For more information, contact DeLaVega at 361-570-4147 or Learn more about services available through LEAD at

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Thomas Doyle 361-570-4342