As the new college year begins, college officials tout the benefits of visiting the campus for high school students trying to choose where to go after they graduate.
Nebraska State College System Chancellor Stan Carpenter urged students to take their time and visit a variety of campuses, such as Peru State, Chadron State as well as the University of Nebraska campuses, among others.
“But, higher education in Nebraska is not monolithic and it is not one size fits all,” Carpenter told reporters during a news conference at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln visitors center. “We’re fortunate in Nebraska that we have a wide variety of institutions that students in Nebraska can choose from to fit their needs in terms of their educational goals, where they want to go to school, the size of the school they would like to attend.”
Carpenter joined University of Nebraska President J.B. Milliken, Nebraska State Colleges Chancellor Stan Carpenter, Doane College President Jacque Carter, and Southeast Community College President Jack Huck as a news conference called by Gov. Dave Heineman.
The news conference highlighted the “Go Visit College” campaign that seeks to encourage high school students, even middle school students, to make a variety of campus visits as they consider college.
Nebraska ranked 19th among the states as early as 2009 in the percentage of high school students going on to vo-tech school, community colleges or universities. It now ranks 7th, with 69.5% of its high school graduates continuing their education.
NU President Milliken says that ranking likely should be the top education goal of the state, because it triggers a number of benefits, such as the persistence of students through high school and even efforts to keep college affordable so more students can attend.
“I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to show the progress that we have,” Milliken stated.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln English major Matt Moore of Omaha said he became serious about college when his high school days began winding down.
“For me, I knew I wanted to go to college, but I didn’t really start looking, I didn’t really start the process of finding or looking into colleges until about my junior year. That’s when things started to pick up and I knew high school was starting to come to a close,” Moore said.
Moore gives tours of the Lincoln campus and said that even middle school students should consider visiting college campuses to begin envisioning going to college someday.
EducationQuest has awarded $2.5 million in College Access Grants to 51 Nebraska high schools to fund college access activities, which include campus visits. It has provide $50,000 to 77 Nebraska schools to pay for 8th Grade students to visit college campuses.
AUDIO: Gov. Dave Heineman hosts news conference on the “Go Visit College” initiative. [12 min.]