Under the Mayor’s College Access for All Initiatives, CUNY’s Office of K-16 Initiatives has partnered with the New York City Department of Education to implement CUNY Explorers to ensure that every seventh-grade student is exposed to a college-going culture and has the opportunity to visit a college campus at least once. The driving message is that every student CAN go to college, every student can afford college, and students and their families can take steps NOW to become college-ready.
Why CUNY Explorers?
Middle school sets the foundation for success in high school, college, and beyond. By supporting students to develop a college identity at a critical developmental age and providing a campus experience that promotes a college-going mindset, students and families internalize the message that college is a necessary and achievable goal.
CUNY hires and trains college students, called “visit guides”, to deliver an interactive and meaningful campus experience for the visiting middle school students or “Explorers”.
Students explore the campus through a guided tour, eat lunch on campus, meet college students and campus staff, and participate in a hands-on activity that promotes college readiness or introduces them to an academic area of study.
To supplement the campus visit and to deepen the impact of the program, “visit guides” travel to middle school classrooms to facilitate activities and discussions about college.
Past activities have included:
Examination and dissection of a fetal piglet at Bronx Community College
Dental hygiene demonstration and tour of a patient care clinic at City Tech
Extraction of DNA from a strawberry at Queensborough Community College
Nautical knot-tying and a tour of an engine room with Kingsborough Community College’s Maritime Technology program
Flight simulation demonstration and a tour of the Robotics Room with the Aviation Institute at York College
On an average day, approximately 550 seventh graders can be found exploring the wonders of CUNY and imagining themselves as future college students.
In the 2019-2020 academic year, CUNY Explorers hosted approximately 70,000 middle school students at fifteen CUNY campuses for an engaging and customized campus visit experience.
Schools in District 75, District 79, and those with high numbers of English Language Learners are provided tailored support through partnerships with campus accessibility and resource offices.