PATERSON, NJ- Over the course of two days of their spring break--Tuesday, April 3 and Wednesday, April 4--41 students from three different NJCDC programs traveled up to New England for an Ivy League tour. Throughout the trip, students from the Paterson Youth CouncilGreat Falls Teen Center, and 21st Century Compete for Life programs visited Harvard University and Yale University, as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The group got an early start on Tuesday, April 3, meeting at NJCDC's headquarters first thing in the morning and traveling by charter bus all the way up to Cambridge, MA. Their first stop was a guided tour at Harvard. The students braved the rain as a current Harvard junior guided them through the campus and covered topics ranging from admissions to financial aid to student life.

On their tour of our country's oldest institution of higher learning, they saw academic buildings, dormitories, historical sites, recreation areas, and more. After finishing their tour at the campus bookstore, the students traveled to downtown Boston, where they enjoyed dinner and shopping at Quincy Market, a historic market complex near Faneuil Hall. Tired from all the walking--and their excitement about the trip--the group stayed overnight at a hotel in nearby Randolph, MA.

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The next morning, the students headed back to Cambridge, where they resumed their college tour with a student-led information session at MIT. Immediately afterwards, two current MIT students guided our youth through an hour-long discussion on a wide range of topics and answered dozens of questions about everything from the application process to adjusting to life in Cambridge. Our group then embarked on a self-guided tour, which included a picturesque walk along the Charles River.

After enjoying a quick lunch, the group headed down to New Haven to visit Yale University. There, they were treated to a guided tour and visited academic buildings, dorms, the historic library, and other landmarks. After concluding the official tour at the campus bookstore, NJCDC's Volunteer Coordinator arranged for two of his fraternity brothers--both current Yale students and one a New Jersey native--to speak to our students about life at Yale.

Mikayla Cater is a junior at Garrett Morgan Academy and a member of the Paterson Youth Council. She said, "This only shows us that no matter where you come from you CAN go to Ivy League Colleges. Attending this trip has only made me want to go to these colleges more!" Dia'Zhon White, a freshman at International High School and a member of the Great Falls Teen Center shared that, "It was an amazing experience for me. It's not every day that you get to see the schools that you see and hear about on TV and such. Plus, it influenced me to further pursue education."

This is the second year NJCDC has held an Ivy League tour. NJCDC CEO Bob Guarasci said, "My colleagues and I work hard to increase the number of Paterson youth attending and graduating from college in a number of ways, including college fairs, college tours, admissions workshops, and the awarding of college scholarships. It's also important to us to remind Paterson youth that absolutely no college --including Harvard, Yale, and MIT--is off-limits to them. Tours like this allow our students to envision themselves graduating from and excelling at the country's top universities and motivate them to set their sights high.


This story is shared with permission from NJCDC