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The first step in helping students access higher education is to encourage a college-going identity in students, especially in the critical middle school years. College campus visits are one way of encouraging students to see themselves as college students and encourage college-going aspirations.
In order to help colleges and universities support younger students most effectively, Oregon GEAR UP held a series of workshops designed to help colleges create or improve developmentally-appropriate college visit experiences without over-burdening staff or swelling limited budgets.
A total of 22 different colleges participated in the workshops which included a review of the research, sharing among institutions and brainstorming and planning time, all delivered through engaging activities that also served as examples of programming that could be done with younger students.
100% of participants would recommend the workshop to others. "I felt this was a great use of my time!" said one participant. "I feel so good about the new ideas and also the connections I made with other peers."
Several colleges have already put their plans into action, including Warner Pacific College, who revamped their website to include group visits for K-10th grade students with a choice of variety of developmentally-appropriate activities including a scavenger hunt campus tour, a Q&A session with a student and college knowledge games.
Colleges can download our Campus Visits for Younger Students Toolkit with a basic planning guide and sample resources.