Wister eighth grade GEAR UP students tour the University of Arkansas Fort Smith

Wister eighth grade GEAR UP students recently toured the University of Arkansas (UAFS) campus in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Before the tour began, Admissions Officer Morgan Kratts spoke with the students in the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center. Kratts discussed the importance of choosing a college that meets specific needs such as size of classes, location, price, and programs. There are over 80 future-focused bachelor’s and associate’s degrees and certificates and an 18:1 student to professor ratio. They also learned that UAFS offers Oklahoma students in–state tuition.

Wister students started the tour by visited the residential housing. UAFS offers residential living for all students, although it is not required for all students to live on campus. Students visited The Lion’s Den Residence Hall where room were spacious and modern. The Lion’s Den also offered students a central lobby with a kitchenette and television with movie privileges. Attached to the residence hall is the Lion’s Den Dining Hall.

From the Lion’s Den, they were directed to the Flanders Building for business classes, the Vines Building for language arts classes, the Gardner Building for history classes, and the Windgate Art & Design Building. Students toured the Math-Science Building. Kratts showed them the labs, classrooms, and lecture hall. She also directed the students to the Recreation and Wellness Center (RAWC) that houses a 35-foot climbing wall, fitness classes, and a walking/jogging track on the second floor. The RAWC is free to students.

From the RAWC, the students traveled through the Pendergraft Health Sciences Center that houses the Dental Hygiene, Nursing, and Radiography Programs. Students were informed that they have access to free services provided by the students enrolled in these programs.

Last stop on tour was the Boreham Library where the guide emphasized how the library is very beneficial for college students. This includes 24-hour zone for all-night study sessions, Student Support Services, and the Babb Center for Student Professional Development.

“The students enjoyed getting a first-hand look of what a college campus is about,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Tara Martin. “College tours are an important part of Eastern’s GEAR UP program.”

The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature. In 2017, Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and is serving over 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.


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