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For High School Students, a Taste of College Life

Evanston Township High School sophomores participated in 'Kits and 'Cats Day

Evanston, Ill. --- More than 100 Evanston Township High School (ETHS) sophomores visited Northwestern University's Evanston campus this fall for "Kits and Cats @ NU" -- a daylong program intended to increase college awareness and access for first-generation college students and those who have not yet decided if they will attend college.

Students were welcomed by Northwestern President Morton Schapiro and District 202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon in the morning, attended an admissions information session and theater presentation, had lunch with men’s basketball head coach Bill Carmody and spent the afternoon at Ryan Field learning about careers in sports management, medicine, training, marketing and broadcasting.

The program was started two years ago and is run by the office of community relations at Northwestern and supported by staff at both Northwestern and ETHS. The goal of the program is for ETHS students to learn more about the University in their own backyard and to get excited about the college selection process in general.

“This is the kind of university that when you mention names like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, you mention Northwestern University,” Witherspoon told students in his welcome remarks, “[…] so when you come to visit this university, you're not just getting a campus experience, you're getting a feel for what a top tier university is like.”

President Schapiro stressed that while ETHS students will end up attending many wonderful colleges across the nation, he’d love to see more “KitCats” at Northwestern, hoping for 25 in the enrolling class by the time the sophomores reach college.

“I've had the great privilege of teaching a number of ETHS kids in my various economics classes,” he said, “[…] they're unbelievably well trained; they're also really interesting. They're not just staying in the library or on the computer or on Facebook, but they actually get out there, and they take advantage of everything here that we offer our students.”

The final event of the day was a panel where three football players and one softball player told the ETHS students about their lives as student-athletes, explained the importance of academics and answered questions. When asked what the most important thing the ETHS students should know in high school is, the student athletes encouraged a commitment to schoolwork and working on personal responsibility.

“Once you get to college, there is no one telling you to do your homework, telling you to go to class -- it’s on you,” said communications senior Bo Cisek, a defensive tackle, “[…] high school is a good place to find some time-management skills because it’ll help you so much when you get to college, and you’ll be a step ahead of everyone else who didn’t do that.”

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