"Think College Day"

By: Elizabeth Schilder Email
By: Elizabeth Schilder Email

Over 300 seventh graders from John Muir Middle School spent the day in the life of a college student as part of "Think College Day." "Think College Day" is a program put on by the Wausau School District in partnership with the Department of Public Instruction and UW- Marathon County. Wednesday seventh graders from Horace Mann Middle School got to spend the day on the UW-Marathon County Campus and today it was the students from John Muir's turn.

When students arrived on campus Thursday, they were greeted by UW-Marathon County Dean Montgomery and Wausau Mayor Tipple. Both shared some encouraging words before dismissing students to their first session. For many of these students it was the first time they've ever set foot on a college campus. Teachers and event coordinators say they hope students will walk away motivated to continue their education after high school.

"Our children are going to need post-secondary education. We want to get that into their minds now so that they start preparing for it. So that they start looking at, what do I want to be when I get out of school? Where do I want to go? What are my goals? What are some the opportunities? What is a college day like? What is a dorm room like? " UW-Marathon County Director of Continuing Education Vickie Richmond Hawkins told NewsChannel 7.

Not only does the day help students plan for the future, it also helps them make sense of the present.

"It helps them to better understand why they're doing what they're doing everyday to prepare themselves, such that they're ready and have many different options once they step out of high school," John Muir Middle School Principal Dean Hess said.

Students attended six different sessions at the college, including two academic classes and one college readiness session. Students also got VIP tours of the dorms.

This is the third year the Wausau School District, DPI and UW-Marathon County teamed up for this program. They're hoping to expand "Think College Day" to include a visit to Northcentral Technical College for 6th graders and a trip to UW-Stevens Point for 8th graders.

Teachers say that contrary to popular belief, 7th grade is the perfect time to get kids thinking about college. That's because they're already faced with class choices and it helps knowing where they want to go after high school.

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