College visits can inspire high school students, too
The Dalles Chronicle | By: Ann Harris
Hey parents! Did you know that visiting a college is not just for high school juniors and seniors?
Visiting colleges and universities early in the high school years — or even in middle school — can provide a clear and tangible understanding of college life as well as offer a source of educational and career inspiration.
This week, eight students from The Dalles High School Juntos Club took a two-day trip to visit both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University.
Juntos is a club focused on empowering students to achieve their college dreams. Club members began planning the trip early in the school year and fundraised to pay it. The first day included attending a special University of Oregon Connections event, led by staff members and multicultural student ambassadors. The students enjoyed lunch at the university and a tour of the beautiful campus, participated in a student panel, and spent time learning about academic and extracurricular programs. The second day included a customized tour at Oregon State University. Students chose where they wanted to visit based on their career interests. They also had the opportunity to meet with current students, particularly students of color, who shared stories of their college experience.
Here’s some comments from the Juntos students: Elena Hernandez said, “I liked that the student ambassadors were really focused on what we wanted to know and answered all of our questions.” Student ambassadors are current university students specially trained to give tours and welcome prospective students. Jazmin Aviles said, “it was good to learn about scholarship opportunities like Pathway Oregon that pays for full tuition at U of O…now we can set our goals to meet those GPA requirements.” Teresa Esiquio Rendon said, “I learned about study abroad opportunities like Oxford. It’s a direct exchange program where you pay the same tuition as at your university.”
Perhaps the most important element of their visit this week is that students had the chance to imagine themselves as a student at U of O or OSU. Who knows where they will end up attending, but these students can now see themselves as college students. If they can see it, they can be it! My work as Open Campus Coordinator for OSU Extension is all about helping more students’ access college.
If you have questions about planning a college visit or other regarding post-secondary education, I am happy to assist you. Ann Harris can be reached at 541-296-5494.
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