High schoolers view college life

About 50 eighth and ninth graders from D.C. public schools spent the day at GW Friday learning what it means to be a college student.

The day’s events, sponsored by the GW group Planning for College Success, included an introductory session in the Hippodrome, discussions about the pre-teens’ concerns about attending college and a Liquid Arts show.

Friday’s “March to College” was PFCS’s first activity of its kind, and those who attended and ran the event said they were pleased with the day’s programming and turnout.

“Fifteen years ago, something like this didn’t happen. College was just a dream that oftentimes did not come true,” said Carlton Cooper from MacFarland Middle School. “The 14- and 15-year-olds may not see it as being important now, but when they go to college in three or four years, their adjustment will be that much easier.”

After gathering in the Hippodrome, the students assembled on the Quad, where they separated into three circles and discussed what they hoped to get from their day on campus. Some of their interests involved learning how students pay for college tuition, how much time there is between classes and what residence hall rooms look like.

Although the majority of the students said they had visited other campuses, they said they were intrigued by the differences between GW and other universities.

The students, from MacFarland and Turrell middle schools, were randomly selected and chosen from a program for accelerated students at MacFarland on Iowa Avenue in Northwest D.C.

The middle school students sat through an information session at the Visitor’s Center, where high school juniors and seniors typically gather when taking a tour of GW’s campus. They learned the difference between a public and private university and what it takes to be a GW student.

They finished up the day in the Marvin Center, where they enjoyed an arts performance by break dance group Liquid Arts.

The president of the program, junior Jamie Meltzer, said the “March to College” was an “initiative to motivate kids to go to college.”

She also told the students about the National Society for Collegiate Scholars, PFCS’s mother organization, and PFCS’s adviser, executive director of the Marvin Center Peter Konwerski.

PCFS’s main activity during the school year is pairing up GW and middle school students who get together once a week for an hour. During the hour, the “big sibling” may decide to read, play a game or talk about current events with his “little” at Turrell or MacFarland.

“It’s been a wonderful experience organizing this day and opening up the kid’s eyes so they can see what it is going to be like for them eventually,” PFCS Co-vice President Jen Bacon said.

Event organizers said they hope to continue the “March to College” in the future.

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