Oregon, especially rural Oregon, is facing a crisis in college access and success. Research has shown that college student coaches have a strong impact on younger students’ aspirational goal of attaining post-secondary education. However, transportation time and costs are barriers to getting college students to rural settings. In 2012, Oregon State University Precollege Programs came up with the idea to connect OSU college student coaches to economically disadvantaged and underserved K-12 classrooms, using videoconferencing software. The college students would meet with their classrooms twice a month for one hour, and provide college-themed programming. It proved to be highly effective for both the students and the college coaches.
Our mission at Beaver Hangouts is to promote and cultivate college awareness and identity in youth, and provide all K-12 students in Oregon equitable college access and readiness through the use of technology.
We serve a variety of K-12 schools and programs all over Oregon. Our main focus is rural and underrepresented populations. Over 50% of the students in the schools we currently work with qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program.