Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
Recently, I joined with leaders of the Nebraska P-16 Initiative and other education leaders to promote the importance of college visits as a way to encourage young Nebraskans to attend college. I chair the P-16 Initiative and my co-chairs are J.B. Milliken, President of the University of Nebraska; State Senator Kate Sullivan, Chair of the Legislature's Education Committee; Liz Koop, President and CEO of EducationQuest Foundation; and Dr. Scott Swisher, Deputy Commissioner of the Nebraska Department of Education.
EducationQuest has shown its support for campus visits by conducting an annual effort called "Go.Visit.College!" which encourages Nebraska's high schools and colleges to work together to coordinate group and individual campus visits. Additionally, EducationQuest awards grants to Nebraska high schools and middle schools to help them conduct campus visits for their students.
College and university visits are a crucial part of the college planning process. Students report that college visits have a significant influence on them as they consider where to go to college. Our message is that visiting a college campus is a vital activity for high school juniors and seniors.
Campus visits provide an opportunity to explore academic programs, talk with students and professors, and tour residence halls, classrooms and other campus facilities. Visits provide an opportunity to experience what a college has to offer and can help students find the right fit for them.
Campus visits are especially important for students who don't think they are a good fit for college, or students whose parents may not have gone to college. Many students report changing their perception once they've actually been to the campus.
Thanks to statewide efforts like Go Visit College, Nebraska is now one of the top 10 states in the nation in the number of high school seniors who continue on to college after graduation. The most recent statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics show that Nebraska is ranked seventh in the nation with 69.5 percent of our public high school graduates going on to college. But we can -- and must - do better.
If you're a junior or senior, you should be preparing for ACT and SAT exams and talking with your parents and counselors about the colleges that interest you. You should make plans to visit a college in person. Nebraska is home to an outstanding range of higher educational institutions. Whether you visit as part of a school group or plan an individual tour with family or friends, colleges and universities welcome high school students for visits year round.
College fairs are a great way to get started and identify places of interest. This fall, EducationQuest Foundation will be conducting six college fairs across the state. These include:
-The Grand Island Area College Fair is Sunday, Sept. 15 from 1 - 3 p.m. at the Exhibition Building -- Fonner Park.
-The Norfolk Area College Fair is Sunday, Sept. 22 from 1 - 3 p.m. at Northeast Community College.
-The Tri-State Area College Fair is Sunday, Oct. 6 from 12:30 - 3 p.m. at the Marina Center in South Sioux City.
-The Scottsbluff/Gering Area College Fair is Sunday, Oct. 13 from 1 - 3 p.m. at the Gering Civic Center.
-The Omaha Area College Fair is Sunday, Oct. 20 from 1 - 4 p.m. at the University of
-The Lincoln Area College Fair is Sunday, Oct. 27 from 1 - 3 p.m. at Southeast Community College in Lincoln.
More information on college planning is available at www.EducationQuest.org.
By providing students with opportunities to go visit college, we are preparing them to take the next step in their education. Thank you to the schools that take the initiative by planning campus visits for juniors and seniors. We want every high school and every family to make visiting college a priority this year.
Governor of Nebraska