Kits ‘n’ Cats Day Shows Evanston High School Students College Opportunities

Kits ‘n’ Cats Day Shows Evanston High School Students College Opportunities

Kits 'n' Cats Day

Nearly 100 Evanston Township High School (ETHS) sophomores and juniors got a close-up look at college during Kits ‘n’ Cats@NU on November 5. A talk by Northwestern President Morton Schapiro kicked off the daylong college awareness event featuring activities, tours and presentations.

Through the Kits ‘n’ Cats program, Evanston high school students gain awareness of Northwestern and interest in college exploration. The semiannual event, supported by the Office of STEM Education Partnerships at SESP, is intended for first-generation college students and those who have not yet decided if they will attend college.

After an introduction by Schapiro and ETHS principal Marcus Shapiro, campus activities began with an admissions information session. Personalized tours of campus — with stops such as the library, dorms, fitness center and Norris University Center — showed the high school students what a day in the life of an undergraduate is like.

More than 20 Northwestern students led the small-group tours. “This was the highlight of the day as the ETHS students got to experience campus with near-peers and see it through their daily life and academic and social experiences,” says OSEP associate director Amy Pratt.

The event gives Evanston high school students unique insight into college life that goes beyond academics. For example, the students learned about extracurricular activities by viewing a theatre production of Pride and Prejudice and hearing from basketball coach Chris Collins. They also learned about sports careers from staff members in Northwestern Athletics. College opportunities beyond academics include working in research labs, joining clubs, studying abroad, doing community service and pursuing internships.

“Kits 'n' Cats@NU has grown to be a successful and valuable program for the ETHS sophomores and juniors. ... While the Northwestern community graciously lends support to this event, the day is about inspiring students to consider college options after high school, no matter where they might choose to attend,” says Northwestern-ETHS partnership coordinator Kristen Perkins. Perkins staffs the partnership office at ETHS where students can access resources to investigate colleges.

Perkins sees the program as effective because ETHS students “are able to envision themselves in college and return to ETHS primed on that college-bound pathway.” She notes, “From our many undergrad volunteers, various departments across campus and NU Athletics to the Theater and Interpretation Center, we have overwhelming support and volunteers to help make this day a success.”

Kits ‘n’ Cats@NU is part of Northwestern University’s Good Neighbor, Great University initiative, which helps motivate Chicago and Evanston students to pursue college and provides scholarships if they enroll at Northwestern. In the 2012-13 academic year, 178 students received scholarships under the Good Neighbor, Great University program, which began in 2010.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 11/19/13