The school year is only a few weeks old, but Manatee High freshmen have already been to college.
The entire freshman class of 2014 visited the University of South Florida in groups during the week of Sept. 7.
The rate of high school students that attend college has gone down because of requirements for higher SAT and ACT scores along with better GPAs, according to Matt Kane, assistant principal at Manatee High School.
As a result, Manatee High School has offered this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to its freshmen, becoming the first area high school to do so.
The students were accompanied by teachers and administrators and spent the whole day at USF.
“It exposes the students to what’s out there after high school,” said Kane, one of the assistant principals who attended the trip. “College starts when they get into high school.”
While at USF, students were given information on admissions, academics and applications. And they had a 20-minute question-and-answer session with a USF recruiter.
“It was interesting,” said freshman Justice Alvarado. “I know what colleges are looking for when I go to apply now. It opens your eyes to all the possibilities after high school.”
Based on what they had gained from the experience, students were asked to write both short- and long-term goals for themselves. The goals are sorted by what they want to gain from high school, and long-term goals for the future — in terms of college.
A copy of each student’s individual goals will be sent home with their progress reports. This way, parents can also work with their children in achieving those goals.
Manatee High hopes to continue the freshman visits to USF in the future.