Junior and senior year brings schedules overloaded with AP classes, after-school activities, SAT and ACT tests and don’t forget the whirlwind of college tours. This year’s freshman class is already ahead of the game as more than half of them have already been on their first college visit.
Last week, 221 Wilson freshman participated in College Exposure Week, a new program created by 9th grade Assistant Principal Richard Mitchell, and spread out at universities across the city. Each student visited one school out of Georgetown University, American University, Catholic University, George Washington University, and Howard University. Students listed their top three choices on a Google form, and were assigned one to visit. This was necessary as each college had limits on the number of students they could accommodate, although most students ended up receiving their first choice. All students had the opportunity to attend, however many students did not fill out the form or turn in their permission slip. Mitchell hopes the buzz from the first round will motivate more students to attend when they go out of state in April.
Mitchell brought the idea from his previous schools (in both Pennsylvania and DC), where he took students in various grade levels to 15 colleges across the east coast. The goal of the program was to, “provide as many students as possible the opportunity for early college exposure.”Mitchell also said that he wanted students to be able to see for themselves what life on a college campus is like.
Participating students were able to enjoy a campus tour and an all-you can eat lunch at the university dining hall, which Mitchell said was many of the students favorite part. The Georgetown University visit also included a student panel, where four first-generation students on a full scholarship talked about their college experience.
Freshman Alex Janco, who visited American University, said he found the tour fascinating and wished he could visit the other schools as well. “I think that the tour was a great idea as it showed us what college is like and got many of us interested in college,” he said.
Although College Exposure Week is currently limited to 9th grade, Mitchell plans to continue it next year and hopes to expand it to other grades in the future.
PHOTOS BY RICHARD MITCHELL