College Advising Support – Services and Programs

At Sonoma Valley High School we recognize that all students seeking acceptance at a 4-year college or university will need support systems in place to insure that the college application process will be successful.  Support starts at home, continues on at school and then is often received through a variety of services and organizations in the community.  We, at Sonoma Valley High School, are very fortunate to have a variety of support programs which are available to high school students and their families.

Services / Programs at Sonoma Valley High School (SVHS):

SVHS College & Career Center / Counseling Department

The College & CareerCenter, as a part of the Counseling Department at SonomaValleyHigh School, offers a variety of resources to support students through the college application process.  Resources include:  college student and parent nights for juniors and seniors, college representative visitations, attendance at college fairs, college workshops for juniors and seniors, academic resume writing support, SAT/ACT test preparation courses and information, financial aid information and support, scholarship information, college application assistance, etc.  Students may utilize the Center on a drop in basis.  The Center is open before school, during class time, at breaks, at lunch and after school. For more information stop by the College and Career Center, visit the SVHS website at or contact Kathleen Hawing, College & Career Center Director at

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination)

AVID is designed to increase school wide learning and performance. The AVID system accelerates student learning while using research based methods of effective instruction.  AVID targets students in the academic middle – B, C, and even D students – who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard. Typically, they will be the first in their families to attend college, and many are from low-income or minority families. AVID pulls these students out of their unchallenging courses and puts them on the college track: acceleration instead of remediation.  Students take an AVID class all four years during high school. The recruitment and application process takes place in middle school.  There are occasionally a few spaces available for students to join after the freshman year.  For general information about AVID, visit  For information about the SVHS AVID Program, contact Coordinator Tammy Rivara at  or AVID Counselor Maricela Sanchez at or AVID Counselor Betzy Chavez at .

CAAT (College Application Accelerated Track)

Sonoma Valley High School juniors who are on track to complete “a-g” requirements, and who have a strong desire to explore a variety of 4-year college options, are motivated, and are able to keep to a specified timeline are eligible to apply for the College Application Accelerated Track Program.  A program created at SVHS in the spring of 2011, CAAT provides information and support services to juniors to stay ahead of the college application process, giving students a better chance at success with their college applications.  The intent of the Program is for participating students to be organized, understand their obligations and feel less stressed during the senior year.  CAAT students are also encouraged to help or mentor their peers through the college application process.   Applications to participate will be available at “College Night for Juniors” in early spring and then in the College & Career Center during the application window (usually March).  For more information contact Kathleen Hawing, College & Career Center Director at 

Outside agencies working with SVHS, or services available to SVHS students:

 10,000 Dragon Degrees

The goal of 10,000 Degrees is to help students from low-income households on the path to a college degree.  In existence since 1981, they have helped more than 15,000 Marin-based students and are now extending to the North Bay and beyond.  The two year long program includes a five-night, six-day Summer Institute at SonomaStateUniversityand a College Advisor who will work with the student throughout the junior and senior years to explore college choices and complete college applications. Additionally, 10,000 Degrees offers support throughout the college years with financial aid counseling and academic advising.  For more information, visit Applications are available in the College & Career Center at SVHS.  The deadline is in early spring.

Academic Talent Search (ATS)Sonoma State University

ATS focuses on recruiting 6th and 7th graders who will embark on a pre-college path, but does add new students in grades 8-10.  Two thirds of ATS students are low income first generation college-bound.  Students must maintain a minimum GPA requirement, enroll in a-g courses and attend designated ATS sessions at SSU.  Students receive one-to-one advising with an ATS Outreach Advisor, workshops, college visitations, and tours, SAT/ACT and financial aid workshops, and tutorial services.  ATS parents also attend college information day and workshops on how to support your student.  For questions see your counselor, visit See website for application deadlines.

College BoundBoys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley

College Bound is a free program offered to all high school students, grades 9-12.  Students receive college advising, workshops, opportunities for college field trips and tours and academic tutoring.  Students must be members of the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley.  For more information contact Robin Eurgubian, Teen Services Director at 938-8544 x117 or No application deadline.


The QuestBridge National College Match helps high achieving low-income high school seniors gain admission and full four-year scholarships to some of the nation’s most selective colleges. QuestBridge’s partner colleges offer generous financial packages that cover 100% of demonstrated financial need.  Students apply in the spring of their junior year. Applicants should be U.S.citizens or legal residents, are generally in the top 5-10% of their class and carry academically rigorous course load.  For more information see your counselor and/or visit  See website for application deadlines.

Students Rising Above (SRA)

Students Rising Above selects low-income high school juniors in the nine-county Bay Area who have overcome tremendous obstacles, and who want to go to college.  Students selected will receive individualized mentoring support, financial assistance and employment skills. Students apply in the spring of their junior year, must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, be highly recommended by a teacher, counselor or mentor, have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be willing to talk about life experiences.  For more information, see your counselor and/or See website for application deadlines.

Summer Search

Summer Search services approximately 200 youth (sophomores, juniors and seniors) in the Bay Area by providing low-income, first-generation college bound students with opportunities for life-changing summer programs and mentoring throughout 10th-12th grade and beyond.  Summer Search looks for introspective students who are open to examining and changing their behaviors and future, who are empathetic, and who show that they can work hard to achieve their goals.  Candidates must be documented or show a clear path in the documentation process and must be referred by a teacher / counselor to be considered.  For general information, go to Application and interview process takes place in the fall.