Tarrant County students peer into college life

Today, 75 students from Tarrant County school districts will get a firsthand look at college life as part of the College Student for a Day program.The goal of the program is to show middle school and high school students that college is an option, said Molly Baldwin, a representative for Americorps VISTA Center for Community Involvement and Service Learning.

Students follow TCU student-volunteers to class and through their daily lives at college, Baldwin said.

Middle school and high school students are chosen by social workers at their schools and are usually those who are considered at risk, said Shelley Marshall, a program director with Communities in Schools.

“The social workers at the school choose the students who can benefit the most from participating in the program,” Marshall said. “Generally students considered at-risk are those who may come from a single- or no-parent family or are at a lower socioeconomic status.”

Chris Volpe, a sophomore business major, said he heard about the program from his sister who volunteered in the program when she was at TCU. He said this will be his third semester participating in the program.

“It’s rewarding hanging out with them,” Volpe said. “It encourages them to get through school and to keep up with their grades.”

Last semester, two middle school students followed him around, and they seemed to enjoy it a lot, Volpe said. The professors also seem to enjoy interacting with the students, he said.

“In my calculus class, my professor would ask them questions, and they would think for a while and say ‘It’s 20!'” Volpe said. “The whole class got a kick out of it.”

The middle school and high school students like the program and ask about it all the time, Marshall said.

There was a campuswide e-mail sent out requesting the help of student volunteers, Baldwin said.

“Eighty TCU students have submitted applications to help with the program and their application must be approved before participating,” she said.

Junior Alex Haley, a finance and accounting major, said she heard about the program through a leadership class. She said it is important for college students to participate to show the younger students they have the opportunity to go to college.