Education Policy & Practice

Exposure to College: Reflections and Questions

Posted on: December 17, 2009

What memories do you have of your pre-college experiences on a college campus and how do you think that helped shape your attitude toward and perception of college? [tweetmeme=”wordpress”]

Here are a few of my memories.  Frankly, I thought college was cool.

  • My earliest memory is from elementary school.  I participated in a summer arts enrichment program at Towson University.  The program was only for a few hours in the morning, for the duration of a few weeks.  I remember the cookies and juice that they served us for snacks.  I remember reading Rudyard Kipling.  I remember the sculpture class.  I don’t remember any of the people, however.
  • Another memory is of spending at least a part of a summer or two at an overnight basketball camp. I was probably a young teenager at that time. I remember my fascination with the concept of dormitory living, shared bathrooms, and the cafeteria.  I liked it.
  • My older cousin was a standout basketball player at Morgan State University, which is only a mile from where I grew up.  She invited me to spend the night on campus after attending one of her games.  I was excited, because at that time I was a varsity starter at my high school and was in awe of the real-ness of being a college basketball player.  And to boot, I would get to spend the night in a real college dorm with real college kids.

I recently asked my 15-year old cousin, “Have you ever spent any time on a college campus?”  He has not had any meaningful experience in a college setting.  To be fair, he has attended several college graduations at such institution as Duke University, Trinity College (Hartford, CT), the United States Naval Academy.

He then said something that I didn’t anticipate hearing.  After telling him that I wanted him to spend time on a college campus this summer, he quickly said that he didn’t want to do that because college campuses are so big.  Then I knew for sure that I had to get him on a college campus and help him to feel “comfortable.”  I believe that there is a college size and setting for everyone, and I want to help him find one.

I encourage you to speak to as many young people you know about college.

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Education Policy & Practice

December 2009
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