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Missouri Western Offers College for Kids

Students in St. Joseph are getting an early start on their future, by heading to college as early as the 6th grade.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Students in St. Joseph are getting an early start on their future, by heading to college as early as the 6th grade.
  
Humboldt Elementary students just finished the first ever College for Kids program at Missouri Western State University.

The students are graduating from a college program, before they've even graduated the 6th grade.

"That is a unique thing, because often, sometimes people think professors are kind of untouchable, and for an elementary student to have access to those, it's really profound," says Humboldt Elementary sixth grade teacher, Elissa Garr.

Missouri Western teamed up with the school to offer College for Kids.

Many of the 6th graders don't come from families who have had a college education.

The Career Development Center at Western wanted to show the kids that higher education is possible for anyone.

"Even growing up in homes where college or the influence of college wasn't expressed, there's still hope, and we've been trying to steer them in that direction," says Donnell Turner, Director for the Career Development Center at Western.

Students have made a visit to the campus each month since September.

In each visit, they've learned what college is like, and have gotten a better feel for what they want to be when they grow up.

They sat in on class lectures, visited the planetarium, and even spoke to professionals in their interested fields.

"For the veterinarian thing, they had like animals and I think it was a bunny or a rabbit, we all got to hold it and got to treat it how you would treat it if it was your pet," says Skylar Vanderpool, a 6th grader.

They also got to learn about the college experience.

They took tours, visited dorms and met R.A.s, and even ate like a college student.

"You could just get whatever you wanted, and whatever you wanted to drink and stuff," says Emily Dotson, a 6th grader.

In each visit, they've gotten closer to realizing their futures.

"In order to make it to college, I have to do those college prep programs, I have to do the math programs," Garr says.

Students say before, they were nervous about college.

Now they know it's something they definitely want to do.

"It's because whenever I go, and I'm going to be a paranormal investigator, and I'm going to have to learn how to use cameras, and how to set things up," says Savannah Goad, a 6th grader.

This was the first year Missouri Western offered College for Kids.
  
They say they're interested in bringing in other elementary schools in the future.
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