College and Career
At MAS, we strive to show every one of our students that they’re college-bound by offering a college preparatory program for all. We believe college prep should ensure our students are academically and socially prepared for the rigors of college, ready to succeed in college-level coursework without remedial gateway courses. Our college prep program also prepares our students to understand the spoken and unspoken rules that govern college life. Here, you’ll find some of the ways we make sure MAS graduates are college-ready.
MAS students take college trips at least once a year, beginning in our students 6th grade year through 12th grade—all at no charge to families. We do this to give our students numerous opportunities to see many different kinds of colleges: two-year and four-year institutions, private colleges, state universities, small colleges, and large universities. By seeing different campuses in person, students can begin the process of deciding which school will best meet their academic needs.
We also guide our students to think beyond academics. While on campus, students tour dorms to see college living options firsthand. They visit the financial aid or scholarship office to learn how to pay for college. They step inside actual classrooms and lecture halls to see how class size varies from school to school to help them consider how these factors impact their decision. They also visit various student services on campus, such as the library, student activities' office, student support offices, and more to help them to better understand the supports available to them on a college campus.
As students enter high school, we further specialize college tours by department or major to help students as they narrow down options for majors they’re interested in and programs different schools offer.
The vast majority of our students will be first-generation college students, on average, 50% of MAS students will be first generation high school graduates, and over 90% will be first generation college graduates. Taking college trips is just one of the ways we help our students bridge the gap between high school and college—and show them the dream of college can be a reality. We fully finance all of our college trips, so all students can experience this opportunity.
The New Mexico Public Education Department recently announced the use of PSAT and SAT as the state high school graduation assessment. This is great news to our students! Prior to this announcement, MAS was already providing students with opportunities to take both the PSAT in their sophomore year, and the SAT in their junior and senior year. We will continue to offer these exams twice per year, although now, these tests serve two purposes: a high school graduation requirement and a college admissions requirement! Beginning in 9th grade, MAS teachers begin preparing students for these tests with test taking strategies and practice tests to ensure our students have the tools they need to be successful in this gatekeeper college entrance exam. While we agree that test scores are not everything, we also know that SAT scores can determine whether students are accepted into the college of their choice; our goal is that no MAS student is turned away from a college opportunity simply because they can’t earn a high enough score. We strive to open the doors of opportunity for our students, and we know students must succeed on the SAT in order for those doors to be opened to them.
Like almost everything we do at MAS, our students are not financially responsible for this opportunity. SAT test administration fees are fully financed by MAS Charter School for all students, regardless of income eligibility.
Dual Credit Courses
New Mexico high school students also have the option to enroll in college courses through our dual credit program. Dual credit is a program where a high school student takes college level courses with one of our local college partners where they earn college credits that count toward their high school diploma, and their post-secondary degree or certificate simultaneously.
Dual credit courses present a unique opportunity to gain exposure to college courses with MAS team support, all while earning credit toward a valuable credential. In the spring semester of their freshman year, all MAS high school students take a college placement test called the Accuplacer so they can enroll in dual credit coursework. Our team of college and career counselors work closely with high school students to assess them and support them in registering for their dual credit courses. Again, like the other aspects of school program, tuition and course materials for dual credit classes are all covered by MAS, so all of our students have access to this opportunity!
College Admissions and Financial Aid Support
At MAS, our team of college and career counselors meet individually with students to support them with the admissions process to the colleges of their choice. Students are expected to apply to and be accepted by at least two colleges by the fall of their senior year. College and career counselors also meet with students and their families to support them in completing their financial aid applications.