Watching television gave Danielle Lambert the impression that the life of a college student is one big party.
One field trip to Augusta State University taught her college life involves a little studying, too.
"It's not all fun and games," said Danielle, a 13-year-old seventh grader from Columbia Middle School. "I think it will be fun, but not party fun."
Danielle and 149 of her classmates took a tour of Augusta State as part of the Post-Secondary Readiness Enrichment Program - a state-operated program designed to help seventh and eighth grade pupils prepare for college.
Diana Lambart, Danielle mother, said she hoped the trip would help her daughter make a smooth transition into college by showing her exactly what to expect. Danielle plans to attend college and become a veterinarian.
Dr. Ann Taylor, operations coordinator for the PREP program at Augusta State, said exposing the pupils to higher education is the exact purpose of the trip.
"It's to encourage their participation and to try to figure out if they want to go to college one day," Taylor said. "It plants a seed in these pupils and gives them motivation to go back and work harder."
On arriving, the pupils were broken up into five groups of about 23 and were shown different aspects of the university. Danielle's group learned about careers in health.
Augusta State students volunteered to show the pupils around the campus. Lagina Hall was the tour guide for Danielle's group and said talking to the middle schoolers about college was an honor.
"I like that I get to motivate pupils to go to college," said Hall, a sophomore pre-med major at Augusta State. "Most think college costs a lot of money and they either can do it or can't afford it. We're here to tell them they can do it."
After those sessions, the pupils gathered for a sack lunch and a general session where they were told about admission standards and financial aid possibilities.
Though Columbia County schools have participated in the program in the past, the trip was the first for any county school in several years, Taylor said.
Taylor said Augusta State is expecting to host more than 1,900 pupils from area schools this calender year. Schools from throughout the CSRA are scheduled to tour Augusta State with Evans and Harlem Middle Schools being the two other Columbia County schools expected to participate.
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