Step N2 the Beach
Step N2 the Beach is a college outreach program facilitated by the campus of California State University, Long Beach. Step N2 the Beach was created to encourage high school students to pursue higher education. This program is geared toward reaching out to the historically underrepresented population in the area high schools. A full day at the Step N2 the Beach program includes a keynote speaker, CSULB admissions presentation, student support services information and a Q&A session with a panel of current CSULB students. Following the panel is a campus tour, lunch, and an opportunity to attend the Long Beach Step Show at CSULB. The other component of the program included creating and implementing a noon time rally at specific high schools. The rallies were a way to recognize and congratulate the students that were accepted to CSULB and allowed them to feel a connection with the students and the university through student interaction and showcasing student involvement at CSULB. As the rally emphasized the importance of pursuing higher education, the students of the National Pan-Hellenic Council were also able to perform to show their support toward these efforts. The Step Show reflects the CSULB-NPHC’s continuing effort to provide leadership and service to the community. A portion of the proceeds from each year goes to supporting scholarships and support of CSULB students and area high schools.
Campus partner in the Step N2 the Beach program were the Office of Student Life and Development, the Office of University Outreach and School Relations (USOR), the African Student Union and the CSULB National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). Student Life and Development serviced as the primary event coordinators. UOSR was responsible for the identification of the targeted students at each of the participating schools and to record and keep the contact records. The NPHC provided free Step Show tickets that were used for contest give a ways and discounted tickets for any CSULB admitted student who wished to attend the Long Beach State Step Show. NPHC also contributed financially to the contracted service fees of Q-20 Entertainment.
Implementation of this project involved numerous campus and community partners. We worked with Long Beach Poly High School, Artesia High School, Mayfair High School and Long Beach Jordan High School.
The schools were selected because of pre-existing relationships with CSULB. A number of the CSULB African American students had already been involved in mentoring visits to Mayfair and Jordan High Schools through involvement in various campus student organizations. CSULB students involved in Step N2 the Beach also had a desire to return to their alma mater high schools. The pre-existing relationships and consultation with the university office of Outreach and School Relations confirmed these schools to be good targets for our yield activities.
While each school has a good relationship with the campus and have a good amount of African American students admitted to CSULB, the actual number of those who enrolled at our campus was significantly low. University Outreach and School Relations would provide lists of the students from each campus who had been admitted to CSULB.
Community partners included Q-20 Entertainment, 92.3 The Beat radio station, and Metro PCS. Q-20 Entertainment was contracted to provide the music set ups and DJ for each high school academic pep rally. Q-20 also assisted in the communication and logistic coordination at the schools where the noon time academic pep rallies occurred. Metro PCS and 92.3 were financial underwriters of the program. For their participation they received marketing exposure at the events as well as prominent sponsorship recognition at the Long Beach State Step Show.
A calendar was established working back from the date of the Long Beach State Step Show. While the primary purpose was to increase the yield of admitted African American students Step N2 the Beach also served as an opportunity for the NPHC to promote the Step Show event, being the Step Show was the ”carrot” to grab the students interest.
Representatives for Student Life and Development, University Outreach and School Relations and Q-20 Entertainment attended planning meetings with school administrators at each of the targeted high schools. The purpose of each meeting was to introduce the concept of the Step N2 the Beach Academic Pep Rallies, discuss the goals of the program and get each school to commit to a day to host the program.
The budget for each high school academic pep rally was about $800.00. Included in that cost is the lunch time rally DJ and set up staff, Step Show ticket giveaways, CSULB promotional giveaways and CSULB staff time.
The main goal of this program is to increase the yield of the CSULB admitted African American students from the targeted high schools. Assessing the effectiveness of the of the program starts with the accurate recording of the student contact data. Was the student contacted prior to the campus visit? Was contact made during the Academic Pep Rally? Did the student attend the Long Beach Step Show? Was follow up contact made by a CSULB Step N2 the Beach representative? Even this information should be cross referenced with follow up that includes student evaluation of the impact of Step N2 the Beach. These names must be compared with the list of students who ultimately enroll at CSULB in the Fall.
Is there an increase in the yield of African American high school students admitted to CSULB over previous years before the implementation of Step N2 the Beach, specifically from the high schools where the program took place on campus? Further assessment should be done by implementing a questionnaire to those students who did enroll to evaluate the impact of the program on their decision to attend CSULB.
Recommendations include working earlier and closer with the high school personnel for increased buy-in for the Academic Pep Rallies. The counselors can also offer additional information regarding their student’s college decision-making process.
It would help to contact the targeted students at each high school prior to the visit. A suggestion would be to have CSULB students phone the high school students leading up to the visit and let them know they will be recognized for their achievement and acceptance to CSULB. Each CSULB student could be assigned a small number of students at each of the participating high schools and be responsible for those students connection to CSULB. They would be encouraged to follow up with the student after the Step N2 the Beach visit.
There is interest in continuing this program as the campus looks for ways to increase the enrollment and graduation of African American students. Involving current students in the recruitment process is beneficial as it creates a process that includes peer to peer dialogue and relationships.
The Long Beach State Step Show has a reputation of being the premiere college showcase event for African American college age youth in the Southern California area. Attaching an outreach component to such a high profile campus event can be successful when well executed. There is room for improvement in how the campus partners work together to ensure maximum benefit to our efforts.
Key to sustaining and further developing the program is securing additional community or corporate sponsors.
The StepN2 the Beach Program has served as an outreach program for all those that desire to pursue higher education, therefore, this program can be easily replicated with various campus partnerships, sponsors and students.