Two photos of students who visited the University of Virginia

The Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) College, Career, and Student Support Department, in partnership with the University of Virginia (UVA), organized a special event called “College Student for a Day.” This initiative provided an opportunity for 40 high school students from Charles J. Colgan Sr., C.D. Hylton, Forest Park, Freedom, and Patriot High Schools to experience a taste of college life.

During the day, the high school students were paired with college student mentors. They had the chance to explore the UVA campus, attend an actual college class, enjoy lunch, and gain insights into the transition from high school to college. The primary objective was to give these high school juniors a firsthand experience of college life and allow them to engage in candid conversations with current college students. Notably, the participants were self-identified first-generation juniors who plan to attend college after graduation.

“I was able to see new things and be with my mentor, who was amazing because she showed me around and I went to the classes. It was just a very good experience overall,” shared Destiny, a Freedom High junior.

“College isn't as scary as I thought it would be. I got to sit in on a lecture and it kind of erased the stigma that college is a scary place,” added Hilbert, junior at Freedom.

Leah Byrd, a college and career counselor at Charles J. Colgan Sr. High, had the idea for this event after attending a conference. The presenters at the conference discussed their experiences taking students to a college and allowing them to shadow students to help them better understand the college experience.

Byrd stated, “Our hope is that our students can see that college can be their reality and a viable pathway to help them achieve their dreams. We want students to dream big and know that we are here to support them.”