More than 1,000 seventh grade students from Keith Middle School, Normandin Middle School, and Roosevelt Middle School in New Bedford will visit UMass Dartmouth on March 21, 23 and 28 to get an up-close look at college life.

The initiative is funded by the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts - Jacobs Family Educational Attainment Fund.

The goals of the initiative are to increase student awareness of the benefits of higher education; comprehension of the relationship between career choices and higher education; preparation of students to set goals, make choices, and understand that college is a viable option.

The initiative includes a campus tour led by UMass Dartmouth students who will share stories of their higher education. Other highlights of the tour include welcome remarks by a UMass Dartmouth student, a campus tour, interactive academic activities, and opportunities to interact with UMass Dartmouth students.

“We know that the sooner students set college as a goal, the more academic success they will enjoy in middle and high school,” said UMass Dartmouth Assistant Vice Chancellor for Civic Engagement Matt Roy. “This initiative will show these students that a college education is possible and valuable for them.”

"We are excited to be able to continue to support the Gateway Cities College Initiative,” Community Foundation President John Vasconcellos said. “The Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts is keenly aware of the many challenges that face the youth of New Bedford as they dream of a college education. This is an effective, yet simple, way to demystify this important step to becoming a fully realized and engaged resident of New Bedford."

Each visit will begin with a welcoming of the students in the university’s Main Auditorium, followed by tour and visit to Woodland Commons for a variety of academic activities. The schedule for the visits is as follows:

March 21, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Normandin Middle School

March 23, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Keith Middle School

March 28, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Roosevelt Middle School

--UMass Dartmouth release

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