By Andrea Bellew
Why are large groups of elementary, middle and high school students found in the Caf some days? Some GC students think it is because the Admissions office is bringing in these students in an attempt to recruit at younger ages. An interview with Michelle Lynch from Admissions provided more information.
The program that these students are participating in is called College Quest – a non-recruitment, service program specific to Georgetown College that is about college access and readiness.
It was created about a year ago because the Admissions office was receiving multiple requests from teachers to have their students visit campus to help them teach college readiness and to instill the value of a college education, all while immersed in a college atmosphere.
College Quest is mainly intended for middle school students – 5th to 8th grade – but sometimes elementary and high schools request to participate as well. The program does cater to the differences in education and age levels between elementary, middle and high school.
Elementary students get to eat lunch on campus, but they mostly stay on Giddings and do not receive GPA education.
Middle school students eat lunch on campus as well, but they get a small tour of the campus – not inside the residence halls, but in some classrooms and a few other places around campus. Middle school students also receive GPA education.
For high school groups, it is the same as for middle school students, except they make it slightly recruitment based since high schoolers are at a time when picking a college is important.
GPA education is an important part of the program because middle school is usually when students first start dealing with a GPA. The students gather on Giddings Lawn to play a GPA game where each student receives a sign with a GPA score on it – such as 2.7 or 3.5 – and draws a scenario card. Then the group discusses how the drawn scenario will affect the particular students’ GPA. For example, a scenario card could say that a student has missed three weeks of school and then the group will most likely discuss how the student’s GPA will be negatively impacted.
The importance of maintaining a good GPA for college and career purposes is emphasized and the difference between high school and college GPA’s are also discussed.
Ms. Lynch talked about how the program has been very successful so far. The teachers who request to participate love it, and students get excited because it is very interactive and they relate to the college students they see. The program itself and the college atmosphere help make college seem like a more realistic option for the students.
To further support this, Lynch said, “Studies show that the sooner students are exposed to college the more likely it is that they will go.”
Despite that, very few other colleges have a college readiness program and none like this. In fact, word about College Quest and how great it is has spread so quickly among teachers that the Admissions Office cannot accommodate all of the schools that request to participate. Thus, they limit the groups to one a day and more limitations may have to be made in the future just to keep the GC community from being disrupted too much.
One of Lynch’s last few comments on the subject was, “We’re not banking on the sixth graders coming here [to Georgetown] in six years…but I am looking for the sixth graders to go to college.”