Hundreds of students involved in mentoring program to visit campus Tuesday

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Hundreds of Western Washington University students have become mentors to fifth-graders this fall in a proactive effort to get more kids to see themselves as college-bound. On Tuesday, Oct. 27, those fifth-graders from Skagit and Whatcom counties will be visiting Western’s campus to see firsthand what a university campus is like.

Modeled after a successful program in Wisconsin, Compass 2 Campus aims to get more kids thinking early about college with the help of mentors and role models to show them the importance of higher education.

“Research tells us mentorship is the key,” said Cyndie Shepard, volunteer director of the program. “Kids who are mentored or who have a significant adult in their lives have a better chance of success.”

On Oct. 27, the fifth graders will go on tours of Western’s campus personalized to the youngsters’ interests. They will get to see the inside of real college classrooms and laboratories to glimpse what’s in store for kids who are motivated to do well in school.

The program, launched with the help of a work study grant from the Higher Education Coordinating Board, includes 10 area elementary schools as well as four community and technical colleges. Funding for the program primarily is from private sources.

For more information, visit the Compass 2 Campus Web site at