Since 1970, the MESA College Prep Program has provided academic enrichment and college exposure to first-generation college middle and high school students as part of the academic preparation efforts of the University of California, Office of the President. UCSB’s MESA College Prep Program works with teachers, who serve as Advisors, offering students support in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subject areas through hands-on, problem-solving projects and challenges. To encourage innovation and peer mentoring, MESA conducts STEM-focused competitions. With a core goal of increasing college-going rates, MESA also provides academic and college preparation and career education to MESA students and their families, a strategy that has proven effective at preparing students for college admission and STEM careers.

Students building bottle rockets

"We appreciate all that you do at UCSB to reach out to students, not just on MESA Day, but all throughout the year…these are the things that inspire students at a young age!"

– Maria Elena Plaza, Principal, RJ Frank Intermediate School

Program Information

For students interested in participating in the program, here is what you can expect:

MESA staff review TES reports with all 9th-12th grade students to help them stay on track with their A-G requirements and aid them in becoming CSU and UC eligible. Each 8th-12th grade student will develop an individual academic plan (IAP) with MESA staff to help map their courses and academic goals.

Support students in registering to take the SAT/PSAT/ACT exams. Please note the following for the UC:

  • Freshman applicants are not required to submit SAT/ACT test scores for fall 2021 and fall 2022 application cycles.
  • SAT Subject Tests are not required, but are recommended for certain selective majors.

For further information please visit the University of California Admissions by clicking here.

Students learn the essential skills needed for ongoing academic achievement and college preparation.

Students participate in hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competitions. MESA Day provides students a chance to prepare for and compete in interactive STEM projects, engage in academic challenges, practice teamwork, develop research and presentation skills, meet other MESA students and mentors, and visit college campuses (including UCSB).

Students learn from guest speakers, are exposed to college research and college visits that introduce them to a range of college and major options, and clarify the education requirements for STEM careers.

Parents are welcomed into MESA and are given tools and support by staff and MESA Advisors to become more effective at advocating for their child's academic success.

Participant Eligibility:

First-generation, college-bound, and/or low-income students are eligible to enroll in the MESA College Prep Program. For more information, please contact the MESA Advisor at your school site.

Program Contacts:

For further information, please contact the OEP staff members listed below.

Brianna Baeza MESA Program Coordinator

Mayra Villanueva MESA Program Coordinator