4,575 students applied to the Computer Science program (the most of any major) at San José State University in 2021. 340 enrolled in 2021. Local students, first generation college students needed a 4.0 at be admitted into our program. Other students needed higher than a 4.0. This presents a challenge to students who want to pursue CS but do not have a perfect high school experience.

The TECHcellence program provides a guided pathway for students interested in computer science from high school through San José City College to San José State University. It allows students who may have had challenges in high school another pathway into computer science at SJSU. The pathway is supported by these activities:

Summer Academy: The program will target a cohort of 90 low-income, first generation high school students. These “TECHcellence students” will participate in a strengths-based summer program at SJSU designed to cultivate an early interest in pursuing CS as a field of study and profession. The summer academy will include an introductory computer science course, seminars with faculty and local technology leaders, and culturally sustaining mentoring activities led by SJSU undergraduates. MUSD teachers and SJSU pre-service educators will provide additional academic support.

Curricula Alignment: Faculty from MUSD, SJCC, and SJSU will align curricula and articulate requirements across institutions to create a series of designated TECHcellence courses. While in high school, TECHcellence students will be able to accelerate their path to admission (and save on college costs) by taking designated dual enrollment CS courses offered by SJCC and funded by CA K12 Strong Workforce Grant.

Culturally Sustaining Mentorship: At every program stage, TECHcellence students will be provided cohort-based mentoring from SJSU undergraduate CS majors and aspiring K12 CS teachers. Part of the TECHcellence funding goes to paying these SJSU student mentors and tutors. Mentors will be trained in culturally sustaining practices by Lurie College of Education faculty experts.

The initial implementation of TECHcellence was made possible by an APLU grant as a partnership between Milpitas Unified School District, San José City College, and San José State University.