Help for Underserved Students: Taking Advantage of College Support Programs

A senior at California State University, Northridge, describes her experience participating in academic support programs for low-income, educationally disadvantaged, and first-generation students.

Everyone needs a little help now and then. Asking for help is a sign of strength and a desire to grow. Some people may feel embarrassed or too proud to accept a helping hand. But the power to accept help, or to at least exclaim the need for help, is the first step to improving and advancing your future.

During my junior year in high school, I knew I needed assistance in my education and for my post-secondary plans after high school. I was fortunate to be introduced to a beneficial program: the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP).

As a part of EAOP—a statewide college preparatory program for underserved students sponsored by the University of California—I had to meet with the program coordinator at least once a month. I did not see this as an obligation, but as a beneficial practice. The coordinator was beyond helpful and pushed her students to surpass others’ expectations. We discussed my plans for next semester’s classes and problems arising in my current classes. She made sure all students were maintaining a high GPA, and if students had concerns, she arranged for tutoring and special programs to assist them. Being able to meet with her helped me plan my short-term and long-term goals. In addition, receiving an outside perspective helped me expand my views.

She was aware of all her students’ interests and matched them with possible programs they would be interested in. The summer before my senior year of high school, she introduced me to the Summer Sessions Research Mentorship Program at University of California, Santa Barbara, where I participated in a Chicano/a research study. This improved my research, public speaking, and study skills.

There are many programs like EAOP that assist students, and they are made up of people who are ready to make you their priority. EAOP was the first program that changed my educational life and furthered my interest in another program at college: the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP).

I attended Ventura College and Moorpark College after high school. After two years of community college, I am currently attending California State University, Northridge (CSUN). During my entire college education, I have been a part of EOP. Similar to the high school program, EOP provides services to low-income, educationally disadvantaged, and/or first-generation college students. It offers tutoring, grants, book vouchers, bus passes, and opportunities for community service like food drives. EOP also assists in the transitional experience for first-time freshmen and first-time transfer students. There are people ready to provide mentoring and tutoring for all subjects. In addition, there is financial support for those who qualify.

Every student who is a part of the program must meet with a counselor every month. Again, this helped me because my counselors provided advice and suggestions on classes and possible plans for my future. My CSUN EOP counselor helped me research internships and jobs for after graduation. They are there to help, and I am glad I took the steps to research and apply to the program. Everyone could use a helping hand, and the will to accept it is the first step in becoming a stronger person. I am so thankful to have found people to help me through my college journey.

All USC and CSU campuses offer EOP, as well as State University of New York campuses and other colleges. I strongly encourage everyone to look into EOP. If your school does not provide this specific program, research other support programs that your school does offer. They exist, but you need to put in the effort to research and apply. Their benefits and rewards will improve your education and career plans. So start today! Programs exist for you, so take that extra step to improve your future.

Related: Find your future college on CollegeXpress

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

academic support California State University college diversity college support services EAOP Early Academic Outreach Program Educational Opportunity Program EOP first-generation students low-income students University of California

About Maria G. Maldonado

I was born and raised in Oxnard, California. God is my number one. I’m a graduate from Ventura College and attended Moorpark College for a short period of time. I’m currently attending CSU Northridge to receive my Bachelor's in Screenwriting. I love writing, whether I’m working on a poem, short story, a script, or randomness. I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I was a student contributor for Student Paths for over three years and am a blogger for a wedding planning agency called Best Bride. Life is zooming by, but I am just trying to enjoy the ride!


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo


Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Joan Franklin

Joan Franklin


I love this website and have been using it for years with my students. I originally bought products through Wintergreen Orchard House and appreciated having key facts at my fingertips when advising students. Your site is easy to access and offers a wide array of topics I need as a busy college counselor.

Jessica Rinker

Jessica Rinker

Student, Fairhaven High School; CollegeXpress Student Writer

My high school counselor introduced me to CollegeXpress freshman year. It has made such a difference in high school, and I plan to continue relying on it in college. CollegeXpress is my go-to because it addresses each aspect of being a student. There are the articles you’d expect regarding college applications and financial aid, but you will also find advice on things like de-stressing and maintaining relationships while balancing a heavy course load. CollegeXpress will also keep you updated on current scholarships through e-mails each Saturday. (They don’t harass you with any product promotion like so many other sites do.) CollegeXpress is a lot like an older sibling who has already conquered the challenges you are facing. Now, they are reaching out a helpful hand. I say take it.

Anthony Vidal

Anthony Vidal

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress has helped me in a series of different ways when it comes to finding scholarships and learning information about different universities. I actually found my dream university through CollegeXpress and am working on getting there.



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me find Allegheny with the super user-friendly search tool for both schools and scholarships. Using CollegeXpress, I was able to search for programs I was interested in studying and find colleges that offered those programs. Also, once you search for the college, CollegeXpress can get you connected!

Damian Rangel

Damian Rangel

September 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me tackle college expenses, which will allow me to put more of my time and effort into my studies without the need of worrying as much about finances.

College Matches