KPS Class of 2018 coming to WMU to look at college life

Contact: Deanne Puca
Photo of middle school students participating in Bronco BUDS.

Bronco BUDS encourages middle school students to set their sights on college.

KALAMAZOO--For the third year in a row, Western Michigan University is opening its residence halls, classrooms and dining halls to all sixth-graders in Kalamazoo Public Schools throughout March and April so they can get a first-hand look at college life and the opportunities available through a college education.

The goal of the WMU/KPS partnership, called Bronco BUDS--Building Unique Dynamic Students--is to encourage early middle school students to set their sights on college and take advantage of the Kalamazoo Promise tuition scholarship program. Campus visits begin March 12.

"By bringing young people to campus and showing them the many benefits of studying at a major public research university, we're trying to help students become familiar and comfortable with the idea of going to college," says WMU President John M. Dunn. "The aim is to make sure they have an idea about what college life is like, what it takes to get accepted and how best to prepare for success as a University student."

All of the district's 973 sixth-graders will be transported to WMU for a day to engage in hands-on activities related to choosing a college career and to take a University tour. The latter will include a visit to a classroom and residence hall, and the students will eat lunch at a campus dining hall. KPS students will be guided through their college experience by WMU students and staff. Many of the college-student guides are Kalamazoo Promise scholarship recipients themselves.

Bronco BUDS is an annual program for KPS sixth-graders and one that is reinforced with programs each year, beginning with the Class of 2016 and continuing as these students move toward high school graduation.

The scheduled visits include students from these school on these dates:

  • Hillside Middle School: Monday, March 12, and Wednesday, March 14
  • Linden Grove Middle School: Monday, March 19, and Wednesday, March 21
  • Alternative Learning Program: Tuesday, March 20
  • Milwood Magnet School Center for Math, Science and Technology: Monday March 26, and Wednesday, March 28
  • Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts: Wednesday, April 11, and Friday, April 13.

For more information, contact Monteze Morales, graduate assistant and coordinator of college visitation activities for the WMU Office of Diversity and Inclusion at or (269) 387-6325.