Virtual College Tours: Familiarizing Youth with the College Experience
Recently, YWCA Minneapolis Girls Inc. received an invitation from Girls Inc. national to participate in an exclusive pilot series of virtual college tours with a select few other affiliates across the country. The group collaborated to offer a series of three virtual college tours and Minneapolis was the first to host. That meant it was our time to shine and highlight our longstanding partnership with the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering.
A Watch Party of Virtual Campus Tours
Because many colleges and universities were already filming virtual tours, we decided to take advantage of some pre-recorded campus tours of the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses and hosted a “watch party” for this portion just days prior to our live segment. This gave the girls an overview of the University of Minnesota and an opportunity to ponder questions for the live session.
Preparing for College 101
Our live session featured an in-depth presentation of what science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs look like at the University of Minnesota, along with more information about the campus. The presentation included information on how to prepare for college, what courses to take in high school, when to take the SAT/ACT and when to make the choice of which college to attend.
Student Groups and Campus Life
We learned about the wide range (900 to be exact!) of different student groups and organizations focused on different themes and hobbies (academic, cultural, leadership development, project-based and more). Lastly, the University of Minnesota shared its robust list of research, learning abroad, lab work and career experience opportunities that it offers to students.
Q&A With Current Students
Following the presentation, we had the pleasure to speak with three current University of Minnesota college students in a Q&A panel with our participants (two of whom were former Girls Inc. of Minneapolis Eurekans!) The chatbox on Zoom was hard to keep up with as the questions for our panelists kept coming through – it was clear that our girls were very engaged! They took advantage and learned as much as they could from the panel asking anything and everything that they could think of.
Familiarizing Youth with the College Experience
We ended the event with an evaluation and several opportunities to win University of Minnesota swag! As we closed, one of the questions we asked the girls was if they would consider attending the University of Minnesota for college: 46% said maybe and 54% said yes. None of them said no! Events like this make a difference by familiarizing youth with the college experience and helping them envision pursuing a college degree.
Girls Inc. Eureka! is a five-year summer and school-year program for girls interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. In partnership with the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, the Eureka! program builds sisterhood with girls from all over the Twin Cities — exploring their career interests and dreams while supporting them through high school graduation and preparing them for the next steps in their post-secondary education.