At the College of DuPage, Black Students Are Recruited at an Early Age

Colleges and universities across the United States go to great lengths to recruit promising African-American students. At the College of DuPage, a community college in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, recruitment starts at a very young age. A new program hopes to plant the seeds of attending college in fifth-grade students in the school districts near the college campus.

The program is the brainchild of Robert K. Nichols, an African American who is the associate dean for technology at the college. Under the program, fifth-graders are brought to campus for an introductory tour. The next year the students return to campus as sixth-graders to shadow a current college student as he or she goes about daily academic routines. The sixth-graders are paired with college students who share the same interests. In later years the students are invited to college, career, and financial aid fairs held on campus. The most academically talented students are encouraged to investigate dual-credit opportunities where they can take classes at the college during their high school years.