For a select group of D.C
. students, a crash course in college life starts in sixth grade.
Kids2College, a six-week program that uses a career-oriented curriculum, partners Georgetown undergraduates with public school students in D.C.’s Ward 7 to introduce them to college and how to prepare for it. The experience, which is sponsored by Georgetown’s Meyers Institute for College Preparation and the United Planning Organization, culminated in a Shadow Day last Thursday that brought participants to campus.
“By sixth grade, you really need to start introducing careers and college — otherwise, some kids don’t know what’s out there,” Meyers Institute Associate Director Joy Dingle said.
According to Tisha Tyson, program coordinator for MICP, the introductory program can be an invaluable experience for the students.
“For many of them, this is the first time they’ve been taught how to pursue a career,” she said. “For some of them, this may be their first time having exposure to college students.”
Six of the Kids2College program’s former students have gone on to attend Georgetown, according to MICP Executive Director Charlene Brown-McKenzie. Over 100 of the program’s participants have gone on to attend other colleges and universities. This year’s class had 131 participants.
“So many members of the Georgetown community, whether they’re students or staff or faculty, really look forward to the opportunity to connect with young students,” Dingle said. “It’s very encouraging to see members of the Georgetown community come together in that way around such a positive issue.”
Mariana Hernandez (COL ’14), a student volunteer, said she learns a lot from the students in the program.
“I just feel a deep satisfaction every time that I come and I’m able to share what I know with the kids,” she said.
According to Dingle, the Kids2 College program for sixth graders is only the beginning of a series of initiatives that the Meyers Institute offers.
“Kids2College is one small part of our outreach to D.C. schools,” she said.
After entering seventh grade, students are eligible to become part of the Saturday Academy program, which tutors students in math, English and Spanish and focuses on critical thinking. Programs continue through these students’ high school graduation.
“This is just the beginning of our relationship,” Tyson said. “I think that’s the greatest part about it.”