Sixth grade students from the McPherson Middle School got the opportunity to see what college-life is like when they visited McPherson College today. The students toured campus, sampled food in the dining hall, visited a residence hall, and got a close look at an academic program.

The college hosted 180 sixth graders as part of the McPherson Middle School’s College and Career Ready program.

“The college visit gets kids out to experience what college is like,” Joan Schieferecke, College and Career Ready advocate at the middle school, said. “I think the visits really open their eyes at an early age to how important grades are to get into the college they want.”

The College and Career Ready program takes students to colleges, community colleges, state universities, and career fairs beginning in sixth grade and continuing through eighth grade, according to Schieferecke. McPherson College has hosted the sixth graders on campus for the past five years.

“It’s a great way for us to help young students picture themselves going to college,” Christi Hopkins, vice president of enrollment management, said. “Middle school is not too early to begin exploring colleges and thinking about careers. We are excited that McPherson College can be the first college visit for many of these students.”

The college visit is just one of the ways the students are encouraged to start discovering what they like and don’t like, what interests them, and what their dreams are for the future, according to Shieferecke.

“It helps the students to start asking questions that they might not have thought about before,” she said. “For example, they might not have considered a career in automotive restoration before touring that program. Especially for some of the girls who noticed the female students in the program last year, they were very excited about the possibilities.”