This Friday, 400 seventh-grade students from Bemidji’s Independent School District 31 will travel to Northwest Technical College to participate in a “Get Ready” program sponsored by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.
The Get Ready program is an early intervention and college awareness program. The program helps prepare students in grades 4-10 from low-income families and those from groups traditionally under-represented in college with college planning information, academic tutoring and information on career and higher education options. Get Ready has two core components: direct service and “Outreach Minnesota.”
Direct service provides tutoring and pre-college activities led by Get Ready staff to students in fifth through twelfth grade in 10 pre-selected Minneapolis and St. Paul schools.
Outreach Minnesota provides the Get Ready curriculum and some pre-college activities — such as college visits — to non-direct service schools and organizations in which more than half of the students receive free or reduced-price lunch. Other factors such as geographic location and diversity are also taken into consideration.
Get Ready is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education through the GEAR UP grant (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) and is administered by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.
“This is something we are hoping will become an annual program,” said Mike Heitkamp, associate vice president for admissions and enrollment for both Northwest Tech and Bemidji State University. “It provides a great opportunity for us to show these seventh-grade students what life is like on a college campus and what they can expect from college-level academics.”
Northwest Technical College’s “Get Ready” event for seventh-grade students is a partner event with Bemidji State’s event for fifth-graders. BSU’s event was held on April 8 and included more than 400 fifth-grade students from area elementary schools.