Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s Winona campus welcomed 44 rising 11th and 12th graders on Sunday, July 3rd for the first session of Countdown to College (C2C). Their two-week session has a strong science component, which provides them the opportunity to earn college credit in environmental biology. Classes are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in science, writing, language arts, and statistics. On Friday, July 15th, 21 rising 12th graders became the fourth graduating class of C2C.

C2C is a four year summer academic program that breaks down the barriers to higher education by exposing youth with high potential directly to the college experience. C2C provides intensive academic and social preparation for college to students from under-resourced communities. Students come for two weeks every summer starting the summer before 9th grade and finishing the summer before 12th grade.

Twenty-two rising 9th grade students and their parents arrived on July 16th and 24rising 10th grade students arrived on July 17th. Parents learned about the program and Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. They participated in tours of campus, stayed in the residence halls, and dined in the cafeteria.

First and second year C2C students are one week into their classes. They have been working hard in class and study hall. Their classes consist of math, vocabulary and grammar, writing, and reading. Their class sizes are 5-6 students, to ensure individualized attention by the professors. When they are not in class they are participating in a variety of activities on campus: swimming in the pool, playing games in the RAC, performing in a talent show, and other fun activities around campus.