HERKIMER — From getting themselves to class on time and staying overnight in a dorm, some New York City high school students recently got a taste of the college life.
The College Explorers Program — now in its fourth year at Herkimer College — is an opportunity for rising seniors with the New Visions For Public Schools program to get a better idea of what college will be like before making decisions about their future.
“It demystifies what the process is like,” said E. Lydell Carter, New Visions director of college and career readiness, during an interview at Herkimer College on Wednesday.
Carter said 35 students attended this year’s program.
As part of their experience, they had to handle responsibilities such as picking out what courses they wanted to take during the program, do the assigned homework and getting to the cafeteria for meals.
Students arrived at the campus on Sunday. On Wednesday, the students’ schedule included four one-hour mini sessions where they could attend courses such as college writing, biology, a criminal justice course and a humanities course called “Superheroes in Society.”
In the biology class, students got more than a classroom experience and visited the college’s natural history museum.
Carter said based on feedback from students who have previously attended the program, they made some changes to it this year.
“It went from two days to three days of instructional experience,” he said.
Wednesday’s schedule also included a graduation ceremony at the Robert McLaughlin College Center, as it was the final day of the college experience, and a dance in one of the gymnasiums. Students also had an opportunity to do yoga, exercise or use the nature trail in the morning.
Organizers say this program allows students would not otherwise have an opportunity to visit a college campus in advance of completing their college search process.
“They now have some confidence about what college is like,” said Jonathan Gambier, admissions assistant at Herkimer College. “They’re not afraid, or should be less afraid … because they have done it.”