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Program shows high school students college experience

About 100 high school students in the Dallas-Fort Worth area walked in the shoes of a college student Monday. From attending classes to eating in the Brown-Lupton University Union, the high school students were shown the college life, a university community involvement official said.

For more than 10 years, TCU has provided minority high school students a chance to see what college life was like when they otherwise might not have, said Melissa Gruver, the community engagement coordinator for the Center for Community Involvement and Service Learning. A majority of these high school students will be first generation college students, she said.

Through the co-programming with TCU Inclusiveness & Intercultural Services and Student YMCA, the Minority High School Conference and “College Student for a Day” combined for a two-day event, Gruver said. On Sunday, the high school students learned about applying to college and stayed overnight in the university’s recreation center. On Monday, they followed a college student around campus.

High school students learned information about financial aid and debunked myths about the college life Sunday afternoon, Gruver said.

Sophomore business major Katelynn Badger, the program director for “College Student for a Day,” said many first generation college students did not know much about college.

Badger said she learned that some of the high school students did not know what a dorm was.

Senior strategic communication major Taylor Wesley said she knew current TCU Community Scholars who were examples of how the program resulted in high school students attending college.

“I just want them to get excited about higher learning and going to college,” Wesley said. “The whole point of the conference is not necessarily to attend TCU but to explore their options.”

Gruver said the exact number of high school students who attended college after the conference was not available.

Kanbre Bailey, a sophomore from Seguin Independent School District who participated in the event, said that besides learning more about higher education, the high school students met and networked with other students their age. They participated in group activities such as working together to make a cheer, she said.

Gruver said starting last semester, college mentors were encouraged to keep in contact with the high school students after the event.

“Research shows that the more and more college-age role models students have in their lives, the more likely they are to go to college,” Gruver said.

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