Navigating the maze of deadlines, admission requirements and forms can be anxiety-inducing for any prospective university student. The hurdles to getting into college can be even higher for first-generation college students and underserved populations unfamiliar with the admissions process.

Members of the Office of Community Engagement (OCE), Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Prince George’s County Public Schools spent Saturday working to help more than 600 Spanish-speaking local students and their families jump that hurdle, hosting them on campus for bilingual workshops, a college fair and tours. A Spanish-speaking student and graduate of UMD also shared their stories.

Estudios Universitarios a su Alcance: Un Taller Gratis en Español (“A College Education Is Within Your Reach: A Free Workshop in Spanish”) also provided translation and interpretation services from Terps Translate, a new initiative from OCE and the Office of Extended Studies’ Graduate Studies in Interpreting and Translation.

The annual workshop is aimed at members of the College Park and greater Prince George’s County communities. Twenty-three percent of College Park residents are foreign-born—many from Spanish-speaking countries—as are 21% of Prince George’s County at large.

“This population is sometimes forgotten about in the college-going process—especially in our backyard of Prince George’s County,” said Adrian Rodriguez, freshman admissions counselor in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. “It’s important to remember these populations—they’re not just hidden in the background; these are students who want to make our community an even more diverse place.”