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Eighth-graders visit EWU to get taste of university life

Wed., March 26, 2014, midnight

Wide-eyed and a bit wily, more than 300 eighth-graders traipsed around Eastern Washington University’s campus on Tuesday to learn firsthand about the college-going experience.

“I think they are starting to learn,” said Nikki Nolt, an EWU admissions representative. “You can see the wheels turning.”

EWU is one of five colleges statewide that hosted hundreds of soon-to-be high school freshman in an event co-sponsored by Washington Council for High School and College Relations. The goal is to start students thinking about going to college early and making the most of their high school years.

Visiting students are split into groups and rotate through three sessions. The Jeopardy Game helps familiarize students with college terms, and the Money Game gives students lessons in college costs as well as living expenses. Students also had the chance to ask college students about university life.

“You find out how much everything really is,” said Devyn Randall, who attends Centennial Middle School in Spokane Valley.

“I learned cost of living, cost of going to college, cost of an apartment,” student Santaya Eddy said.

Eddy already planned to go to college, she said. Tuesday’s EWU visit confirmed that desire: “I definitely want to go here,” she said.

Meanwhile, a boisterous boy participating in the Jeopardy Game section asked about ways to earn scholarships. “So … if you’re good at soccer, can you get money for that?” said Daniel Reyes, a middle school student from Wenatchee.

After lunch, students gathered on the floor in the campus library to ask three EWU students questions.

Students fired away: “How much do the residence halls cost?” “How much are books?” “Can I wear flip flops to class?” “Do you have to go to classes on the weekends?” “Do you party a lot?” “What’s the music program like here?” “How long are classes?”

The panel answered each question politely and as honestly as possible: Living in a dormitory costs about $8,000 per year. Books can be expensive: up to $800. Classes are not held on weekends. Class times vary. Eagle Entertainment brought in Macklemore and Ryan Lewis last year.

EWU student Katelyn Johnston said, “It’s clear they want to know how much independence they’ll have.”

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