The ABCs of recruiting: U takes kindergarteners on campus tour

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

The College of Education is making an effort to reach out to future U students by recruiting them as early as possible-starting at five years old.

A campus tour was given to 30 kindergarten students from Jackson Elementary on Sept. 28 to prompt them to start thinking about college from an early age.

“I think we have to teach children about college when they’re really young,” Dean of the College of Education David Sperry said. “We have to let them know that attending a university is a definite possibility for people of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds.”

Research shows that when children are taught about college at an early age, they are more likely to be enrolled in one when they are older, Assistant Vice President of Diversity Karen Dace said.

“It just makes sense to recruit them as early as possible,” Dace said. “I think that our university (can be a) scary place sometimes. Hopefully the kids will learn that this is a good and safe place for them to come.”

Sperry and Jennifer Newell, one of the kindergarten teachers, led the tour of the Marriott Library, where the children looked at the books and learned about student activities.

“We’re hoping that this experience will whet their palates so they’ll want to come back,” Newell said. “We also want to transfer the message to their parents.” An important part of encouraging students to consider college is educating parents about the U that it is a place where their children are welcome when they are ready, he said. Lisa Dean, whose 5-year-old son Robert attends Jackson Elementary, said she supports the message behind the tour.

“I think it’s great for them to be excited about their future,” she said. “Whether it’s their education or the new programs they’ll be part of, I think it’s vital for them to be eager about upcoming opportunities in their life.”

Future plans with the same kindergarten class are also being made. The parents and children are scheduled to return several times this year, including a visit to the Utah Museum of Natural History, Sperry said.

“It’s not just a one-time thing, it’s intended to provide multiple exposures for them over time,” he said.

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