Early College Awareness

Student Diversity and Inclusion Services' Early College Awareness (ECA) program works with local public and private schools and educational organizations to host campus visits that provide a college experience for middle school students.  Often students are part of programs aimed at students who may eventually be the first in their families to attend, or who need encouragement to pursue higher education.  Through developmentally appropriate hands-on activities, we work with middle school youth to boost their interest and enthusiasm for college and increase their knowledge of higher education opportunities, appropriate high school preparation, ways of paying for college, and different types of institutions, degrees, and career options. 

The group limit is approximately 50 students plus staff/chaperones.  Depending upon the availability of facilities and student staff, slightly larger groups can sometimes be accomodated.

We do not offer ECA tours during the summer.  If you have questions about our program, or to be added to the mailing list for the fall, please contact Teresa Sweeney at (651) 962-6800 or tsweeney@stthomas.edu.  Requests for visits will be taken at the beginning of the new school year.

Schools and Organizations

Overview of our program:

  • Available to host on-campus visits on Tuesday and Thursdays between 10:00am and 1:00pm.  Visits are typically 3 hours long.
  • Priority is given to current UST partners, Minneapolis or St. Paul public schools, and Catholic schools who serve underrepresented populations.
  • Preference given to those who already incorporate college awareness into their curriculum or program.
  • Transportation is the responsibility of the visiting school.
  • Off-campus outreach events and presentations can be scheduled upon request. 

Typical Visit Schedule*:

10:00am - Welcome - An introduction to college, meet UST students
- General College Activity - learn about college in a fun and exciting way, led by current UST students
11:00am - College Q&A with current UST students, dorm slideshow
- Lunch
12:00pm - Tour - see the main part of campus and get a glimpse into college life
1:00pm - Depart
*Schedules vary based upon both campus and visitor availabilities.  

UST Students, Faculty, and Staff

ECA hosts multiple campus visits each semester and will be looking for student employees and volunteers to assist with visits. Faculty and staff interested in leading a mock class or guest presentation to a visiting group may call Teresa Sweeney at (651) 962-6800.  Students can get more information on volunteering from the Volunteer FAQs link, or watch the student employment listings.