Middlebury

Middlebury College's "Midd Kid for a Day" encourages Vermont's rural youngsters to consider college

January 25, 2007

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? What if the idea of going to college never crossed your mind? Or what if it had - and you didn't know where to begin? For too many young people today, this dilemma is a stark reality.

On Sunday, Jan. 28, a Middlebury College student-organized program called "Midd Kid for a Day" will bring more than 40 Vermont and upstate New York middle schoolers - many from remote rural areas - to spend a day living the life of a college student. The program, in its fourth year, was developed by student volunteers to give their younger counterparts a taste of the academic and social rewards of college with the hope that they will seriously consider higher education.

Student co-chair of the event and Middlebury senior Jessica Cox said, "Our goal is to offer Middlebury College as an example of the higher education experience. The program isn't meant to draw them to Middlebury, specifically, but rather to use our campus and programs to show them that going to college can be a worthwhile and exciting part of their lives."

The day begins in the morning, when visiting students arrive on campus from more than 30 schools throughout Vermont and rural New York, and continues until early evening. All meals, tickets and time are donated by school officials, and the visit is free to the students who attend. Scheduled activities include:

. an admissions talk with student volunteers
. performance by a student a cappella singing group
. lunch and dinner in campus dining halls
. a scavenger hunt throughout the campus, including buildings such as the library
. a men's hockey game

While there is no specific data that the "Midd Kid for a Day" program has driven up college attendance among the young visitors, there has been an increase in the number of Vermonters who enroll in college in recent years. A study by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, titled "Measuring Up 2004: The State-by-State Report Card for Higher Education," stated that the proportion of Vermont 18-24 year olds matriculating to college and universities is up 19 percent over the past decade. According to the same study, Vermont has traditionally had low college enrollments with 40 percent of high school students going to college in 1998 compared to 59 percent in 2004. In remote rural areas in Vermont and upstate New York, the percentage is still lower.

The event is sponsored by Middlebury College's Cook Commons through a partnership with Cornwall-based Foundation for Excellent Schools (FES). FES is a national nonprofit organization that partners with public schools in high-need communities to help underserved students prepare for, access and succeed in college. Middlebury College and FES have maintained a partnership for the past decade, and this event is one of hundreds taking place around the country through similar FES school and college partnerships. For more information about FES, visit www.fesnet.org.

For more information about "Midd Kid for a Day," contact Middlebury College senior Jessica Cox at (802) 443-6298 or jcox@middlebury.edu.