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Middle School Students Learn About Higher Ed at Georgetown

March 19, 2012 – More than 130 sixth-graders from Washington, D.C.’s Ward 7 visited Georgetown for Shadow Day March 15 as part of a program designed to get them thinking about their paths to college.

The Kids2College program, administered by the university’s Center for Multicultural Equity and Access (CMEA), breaks down the concept of higher education to middle school students.

The program introduces them to post-secondary education options such as vocational programs, two- and four-year colleges, the admissions process and what they might major in based on career interests.

New to Campus

“For most of these students, it’s the first time they’ve been on a college campus,” said Charlene Brown-McKenzie, associate director of CMEA. “So Shadow Day is their day to become acquainted with what happens on campus at Georgetown.”

The sixth-graders from Ronald H. Brown and John Philip Sousa middle schools toured the grounds, attended academic seminars, participated in a scavenger hunt, ate lunch in O’Donovan Hall and met with Georgetown students, faculty and staff.

Long-term goals

“Our two classes of sixth-graders that participated really looked forward to the visit,” says Lakeisha Wells-Palmer, assistant principal at Sousa Middle School. “Our goal is to get them to high school, but the [Georgetown] facilitators were able to focus on more long-term goals, getting them to think about paths to their desired futures.”

Before the middle-school students came to campus, Georgetown undergraduates visited their classrooms as trained facilitators twice a week for six weeks.

The university students talked about their academic experiences, extracurricular activities and career interests.

“This experience was truly enriching," said Leotha Hinds (C’13), one of the facilitators. "I loved working with the kids and watching them really begin to visualize their futures."

Starting a dialogue

“The Georgetown facilitators start the dialogue about what makes a good student,” said Brown-McKenzie, who is also executive director of Georgetown’s Meyers Institute for College Preparation. “We ask [the middle school students] if we were admissions counselors, what would we be looking for. That teaches them that there is a process for getting into the college their choice.”

Thursday’s daylong visit to Georgetown marked the Kids2College program’s conclusion, but not the end of Georgetown’s work with the schools.

The sixth-graders will now be invited to apply for Georgetown’s pre-college program, the Meyers Institute for College Preparation, which works with students in grades seven to 12.