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First-Generation Students Get Head Start on College


In an innovative push to get first-generation students ready for college, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is hosting 25 ninth graders for a two-week program called Countdown to College (C2C).

The students from Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Tucson are taking part in the academic camp from July 24 to August 7. Preference is given to graduates of Saint Mary’s partners in the NativityMiguel Network of Jesuit and Lasallian schools. The students will return each summer of their high school years with a new group of ninth graders joining each year until the program reaches capacity at 100 students.

C2C offers free classes, recreation, field trips, and room and board. A teacher from each participating school co-teaches with university instructors to get a better understanding of how to prepare their students for college. It also helps prepare university instructors to work with an increasingly diverse college population. The students and teachers are blogging about their experiences. The local Fox affiliate highlighted the program in a news story.

Countdown to College is funded for 2010-2013 by a generous donation from Jack and Mary Ann Remick, who are long-time supporters of Saint Mary’s. Mary Ann Remick is also the chairwoman of Saint Mary’s First-Generation Advisory Board.

C2C is the foundation segment of the university’s broader First-Generation Initiative, which provides college scholarships and support to first-generation students who demonstrate financial need as well as leadership and academic potential. This exciting initiative will be profiled in the next issue of De La Salle Today.