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Program Helps Middle School Students Make College Preparation Choices

Editors: For more information or to arrange an interview regarding the Line Up for College Program, contact Mary Huffcut in UW-Eau Claire Continuing Education at 715-836-2737 or huffcumb@uwec.edu.

RELEASED: April 10, 2009

EAU CLAIRE — The "Line Up for College" program will hold "PreCollege Pledge Day" May 1 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The program will provide middle school students — including many from low-income families — with strong academic support and early familiarity with the university community. "Line Up for College" will help the middle school students clarify goals of a college education. It also provides adult and peer support to help the students make a more comfortable transition to high school and make more informed choices of high school coursework.

"Line Up for College," funded by a grant from the UW System Committee on Baccalaureate Expansion, is administered by UW-Eau Claire Continuing Education.

"This program has so much potential," said Mary Huffcut, associate outreach specialist and programmer for LUC. "The partnerships being made are fantastic, the energy from the college students is filled with hope and purpose, and the middle school students can see their future ahead of them."

Students from the pilot program at DeLong Middle School in Eau Claire, as well as middle school students from Wausau and the Department of Public Instruction's Wisconsin Educational Opportunity Program, will attend the May 1 event.

Workshops on study skills and college preparation will be held throughout the day. Students will examine in detail the Wisconsin Covenant, the state's commitment to secondary students who pledge high academic performance and pursuit of postsecondary education,

Results from the pilot program have included a 16 percent increase in completed assignments by participants, 72 percent of participants raising core grades or keeping them at a B or better, and an 82 percent increase in weekly homework time.

The program hires 18 UW-Eau Claire students from a variety of majors as tutor mentors. They spend two to four hours a week with the middle school students in addition to frequent e-mail and phone contact. The tutor mentors also communicate with the program participants' parents twice a month and with their teachers once a week.

Next fall, 25 sixth-grade students will start the program. Students remain in LUC through eighth grade, at which time they sign the Wisconsin Covenant and transition to UW-Eau Claire's precollege programming.

The program is applying for ongoing funding with the goal of becoming self-sustaining.

For additional program information, call 715-836-3636 or toll-free 866-893-2423, use the Wisconsin Relay System (711), visit www.uwec.edu/ce or e-mail ce@uwec.edu.

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KH

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