Thirty first-generation High School District 214 students and their parents or guardians toured the campuses of Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee this spring, a new initiative aimed at ensuring long-term success for students who will become the first in their family to go to college.
The day trip, funded by the District 214 Education Foundation, included students from every school in the District, as well as The Academy at Forest View.
"You can't dream what you can't see," Superintendent Dr. David R. Schuler said. "Giving our students and their parents this opportunity helps prepare them for their future, and visually demonstrate the success we know they can achieve."
The bus trips between Arlington Heights and the campuses included programming focused on college preparation, future success and financial aid.
District 214 alumni-turned- current Marquette students provided additional insight, riding along on the buses to answer questions and discuss their own journeys. District 214 college counselors also fielded questions for the trip's duration.
On campus, students toured academic, athletic and common areas and heard presentations from college officials, who focused on the importance of finding the right college fit, getting involved and finishing their degree. They also discussed success services -- many of them, like writing and tutoring centers and career advisers, mirroring District 214 initiatives students already are used to.
Prospect High School parent John Farias, who participated with his son, said he enjoyed talking to the current college students and hearing from the experts, who made it clear how willing they are to work with students academically.
"It provided me with a perspective of a public versus a private university," Farias said, "and which of them would be a good fit."
District 214 regularly offers college trips that expose current students to post-high school opportunities, but the Foundation excursion offered a look at institutions outside Illinois, as well as a unique opportunity for a parent to join as well.
"Going with a parent is beneficial," John Hersey High School student Emily Tai said. "It helps facilitate the parent's involvement in the student's college process."
Plans already are in the works to offer additional experiences next year.
The District 214 Education Foundation funds innovation, student success and lifelong learning across District 214. For more, visit www.d214.org/foundation.