PORTLAND — All sophomores at Portland High School will spend Wednesday visiting area colleges in an early effort to whet their appetites for higher education.

The second-year students will visit one or two of the following colleges: Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, the University of Southern Maine and the University of New Hampshire.

“The purpose of the visit is to get students excited about college and to have them start comparing and contrasting schools,” said Theresa LaPlante, a Portland High guidance counselor. “Students who start thinking about their career plans early in high school are more motivated to work hard and to dream big.”

The visits will include a student-led tour, an information session with an admissions representative and lunch in the college dining hall. Funds from the MELMAC Foundation will cover the cost of bus transportation and lunch.

Sophomores at Deering High School will make similar college visits on May 3.

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