A steady stream of young visitors paraded across campus during 11 days in May – and we’re not talking about the usual incoming wide-eyed freshmen attending Eagle View Orientation.
These were seventh-graders from Collier County. All of them. As in every seventh-grader in the public school district. That’s 3,000-plus students from 50 schools.
Students and faculty in FGCU’s College of Education led the tours, teaching their young charges about the importance of college and spotlighting the unique programs and features of their local public university.
“This has been a wonderful opportunity to have these students learn about higher education and see our beautiful campus,” said Jane McHaney, interim dean of the College of Education.
The first-time program was intended to inspire youngsters to envision college as an attainable goal and to help them understand the choices and commitments they will need to make in order to accomplish it. Before visiting campus, they were introduced to the basics of higher education through classroom instruction and videos.
“There’s nothing like this — it’s a unique opportunity to get them thinking ahead about high school and college,” said Collier County Schools Superintendent Kamela Patton, who joined 300 students from Immokalee Middle School on a tour. “It’s early exposure to what they can do, how they need to be engaged in the right courses. We want them to understand there are scholarships and financial aid, too, so they should not let money be a deterrent to thinking about college.”
The visits also provided valuable experience for FGCU students who volunteered, according to Assistant Professor Dawn Martelli, who coordinated the tours.
“Many students took time out of their schedules to become guides and talk about what FGCU offers and their own personal experiences. They were able to practice leadership skills while guiding students around campus,” she said. “The seventh-graders were able to see what campus life is like by visiting two residence halls. They learned about how classes are scheduled and what majors are available during a walk around the library lawn. They got to see Alico Arena, where they visited Azul and FGCU athletes.”
Learn more about FGCU’s College of Education at http://coe.fgcu.edu/index.html.