Hundreds of students visited the University of Alaska Anchorage for the first time Friday, but they showed up a bit too soon to declare a major.

Fifth- and sixth-graders from more than a dozen local schools visited the campus as part of the Kids2College program, a nationwide early college awareness initiative. The students have been learning how to identify career interests, prepare themselves for campus success and consider their financial aid options.

In part of the six-lesson program, the students attended hands-on classes designed to give them a taste of college life.

“It’s really important to start in elementary school, just because once you get into middle school, that's when it really is critical that you are really on top of your classes and your grades and your study habits," said Shelly Morgan, a K-12 Specialist with the Alaska Commission on Post Secondary Education. "So that by the time you get into high school you are able to do well in those classes and be able to qualify for merit scholarships.”

About half of the students in the statewide program will tour a University of Alaska campus, while students in more rural areas take a virtual tour.

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