Partnership Programs Make College a Reality for First-Generation Students

Even though college is several years away for 15-year-old Alex Martinez, the New Jersey high school freshman has already gotten a taste of college life.

“There’s a lot more freedom,” Martinez says of his experience attending a high-level psychology class on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers University. “Many students had their laptops out and taking notes. But in high school you can’t do that. There’s a lot more rules in high school.”

Martinez adds, “In college it’s like the teachers let you do whatever you want. It’s your problem if you don’t take notes.”

Martinez’s college mentor, Katherine Finer, who graduated from Rutgers this spring, says by bringing Martinez to her psychology class, she was able to relate the message: “This is what needs to be done to get here.”

Martinez — a freshman at the Health Sciences Technology High School in New Brunswick — is getting his college experience through a program called Rutgers Future Scholars.

Through the program, each year, 200 first-generation college students from families of lesser economic means in New Brunswick, Camden, Piscataway and Newark are selected to participate in pre-college activities beginning the summer before eighth grade. The pre-college activities include college entrance exam preparation, mentoring from Rutgers students and campus visits. <Read more.>

Via Jamaal Abdul-Alim, Diverse Issues in Higher Education.