The MiraCosta College Office of School Relations/Diversity Outreach serves as the college's primary liaison to the local school districts. This program is responsible for implementing student outreach services which are designed to help the college meet its strategic goals to enhance the ethnic and cultural diversity of the student body, and make MiraCosta College the college of choice for students in the local schools.
One of the most effective services implemented by the Office of School Relations/Diversity Outreach has been the MiraCosta Student Ambassadors. Initiated as a pilot project during the spring 1990 semester, the Ambassadors have become a permanent and integral part of the college's outreach team. The group consists of twenty culturally diverse student leaders who serve as members of the School Relations staff. Student Ambassadors are interviewed, hired, and trained during the summer months in preparation for their work that begins each fall semester. They are supported by an annual budget which covers all student payroll and training costs.
The Student Ambassadors have been the primary tool in the School Relations/Diversity Outreach program's implementation of a specialized recruitment strategy which emphasizes early outreach and targets under-represented students. As part of this plan, the Ambassadors have undertaken a comprehensive set of duties which have enabled the college to secure its presence in the high schools, bring the college message to students in middle and elementary schools, and effectively target students from ethnically diverse backgrounds.
With cooperation from the district high schools, each Ambassador holds weekly on-site peer counseling sessions at an assigned school. These sessions cover the first stages of the admissions process and ensure that interested students receive ongoing pre-enrollment advising. The Ambassadors have also been instrumental in the expansion of the early outreach program by delivering regular on- and off-campus college workshops for middle and elementary school students. These workshops are designed to reach students at an early age in order to encourage them to stay in school and someday pursue a college education. Most importantly, the Ambassadors have provided a variety of target outreach services for diverse high school students. These include serving as mentors for students; providing workshops for Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), Migrant Education, English Language Development, and other support programs for under-represented and educationally disadvantaged students; and holding weekly bilingual peer counseling appointments at each of our district high schools.
The Student Ambassadors have enjoyed a great deal of success since the advent of the program. Recent high school graduates consider MiraCosta to be a very attractive college option as evidenced by the fact that the average age of the student body has decreased by over two years, while the number of students enrolled full-time has nearly doubled. Ambassador efforts have also contributed to the increasing diversity of the student body as the percentages of Asian-Pacific, African-American, and Latino students have climbed steadily over the past several years.