NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- They still have all of high school to go through, but 37 eighth-graders from Isaac E. Young Middle School got a look into the future recently with a trip to Mercy College.
"It was very interesting seeing the different courses we could take," said student Lois Boateng.
IEYMS eighth-graders visit seven or eight colleges and universities throughout the year in a program run by the school's counseling department. High school students frequently visit colleges, but the IEYMS counselors started that school's program four years ago because they did not want the quickly growing young adults to wait that long.
"Our children need to be exposed earlier to the possibility of attending college and what it takes to succeed there," said school counselor Martha Rodriguez.
Over the course of the year, she and her three fellow counselors take about 40 students at a time to Iona College, Purchase College, New York University and others. They travel as far as New Haven, Connecticut, where they visit Yale University for a look at the Ivy League.
The students meet with admissions counselors and administrators and often take tours led by students at the college.
At Mercy, student Alexis Chavez was happy to find a Criminal Justice major, since he wants to become a police officer (or a U.S. Marine). Alejandra Garcia, who plans to be a nurse, got to see nursing students working on lifelike mannequins.
"You practice with them as if they were a real person," she said. "When we actually go to be a nurse, we would know the steps."
Boateng, who plans to be a fashion industry entrepreneur, got a clearer look at what it will take to excel in higher education.
"It will take more hard work and doing well in school," she said.