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      Ninth graders get a feel for college life

      Itâ??s the age-old question for high school students: when should I start thinking about college?

      Thursday, 24 ninth graders from Dollar Bay High School toured Michigan Techâ??s campus in a Tech-based group called Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for University Programs, or GEAR UP.

      â??They can really start prepping for their grades, getting good grades on exams, and those kind of things, and just really getting in that college mindset,â?? said Michigan Tech Youth Programs Coordinator, Jen Martin.

      GEAR UP has groups in Lâ??Anse High School, Baraga High School, Chassell High School, Houghton High School, Hancock High School, Dollar Bay High School, Lake Linden High School, and Calumet High School.

      Through the program students have the chance to look inside lecture halls, libraries, campus buildings, and even the dining halls.

      â??It prepares us for high school years and after high school when we actually go to college, and it might influence what we want to do or if we actually want to go to college,â?? said ninth grade student, Libbi Rogan.

      Some students said they had some of their misconceptions busted.

      â??Itâ??s a lot more casual and open than I thought it would be,â?? said ninth grade student, Taylor Busser. â??I thought it would be a lot more uptight than it is.â??

      â??There are a lot of things available to us, like computer labs and the library and teacher help,â?? Rogan added.

      Itâ??s all about helping students figure out early on what they want to do with their future. Even though some students say they arenâ??t making any decisions just yet, they now know about their options.

      â??Iâ??m not really sure what I want to do for college, but coming to GEAR UP today and all these field trips definitely help me get ideas on what I want to do for college,â?? Busser said.

      â??Being exposed to it early can, I think, make them feel more at ease with the whole college experience,â?? Martin added.