Junior Bulldog Program

Hold Onto Your Seats!

The UNC Asheville Junior Bulldog Program is not your typical college campus visit! If you are ready to experience college life and enjoy a fun-filled campus journey with a memorable experience, then UNC Asheville’s Junior Bulldog Program is for you! This exciting campus odyssey has been designed with the middle school student in mind.  Aimed to promote engaged college awareness, readiness and preparedness, the UNC Asheville Junior Bulldog Program program provides students with one-on-one access to our award-winning faculty, staff, and students by participating in dynamic, hands-on activities and demonstrations centered on the richness of a liberal arts education.  We open a world of exploration and opportunities for students to self-reflect and discover the vibrant dimensions of UNC Asheville through our customized workshops, including adventures in Admissions, Athletics and Academics.

The Junior Bulldog Program provides the opportunity for middle school students to see themselves as part of our campus community by participating in real-life college experiences. We believe that students should be introduced to college campuses at an early age, in order to experience the vibrancy of an authentic university setting and begin to think of higher education as a realistic goal.

Check out the UNC Asheville Magazine story “Ready…Set…Bulldog!” to learn more about the Junior Bulldog Program.

“We had a FANTASTIC time at UNCA for the [Junior Bulldog Program]. It was a powerful experience for our students to step foot on a college campus and be ‘UNCA students’ for a day. They loved every activity. The whole bus ride back they talked about what kind of college they see themselves going to. Thank you for providing this enriching experience!”   Leanne Perry, Counselor, Rugby Middle School

The University has a policy regarding the protection of minors involved in programs and activities on campus. We ask that adult chaperones maintain a 1:25 ratio with their student groups as much as possible. Please know that should an incident occur while participating on campus, University Police should be notified immediately by calling 828.251.6710 or by dialing 911.

Sample Schedule

  • 9:00 AM – Arrive on Campus
  • 9:15 AM – Athletic Adventure
  • 10:15 AM – Admissions Adventure
  • 11:00 AM – Lunch*
  • 12:00 PM – Academic Adventure #1
  • 12:35 PM – Academic Adventure #2
  • 1:15 PM – Scavenger Hunt

*Cost for lunch is approximately $10.00 per person. Non-GEAR UP groups must arrange their dining accommodations directly with UNC Asheville’s Dining Services.

We encourage students to dress according to the local weather in Asheville and to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, as UNC Asheville’s Junior Bulldog Program is an elongated version of our traditional campus tours and includes lots of walking.

These tours are subject to availability and must be scheduled a semester in advance through the Pre-College Outreach office by email (juniorbulldogs@unca.edu) or by phone at 828.251.6563.


Sample Adventures

Athletic Adventure

There is no better way to start off a tour than with some blood-pumping activity! Students will step in to the shoes of a UNC Asheville student-athlete by taking on the vertical jump test, active drills, and game day routines held in the basketball locker room. UNC Asheville track and cross country members will demystify the road to college athletics and reveal what it takes to balance school, training, and competitions! The Athletics Adventure will give students a taste of NCAA Division I athletics and encourage any junior athletes to strive harder in their arena and in the classroom!

Admission Adventure

Admission staff will discuss what students can be doing, even in middle school, to start preparing for college. The presentation gives students a realistic idea of what admissions counselors are looking for with regard to college applicants. Students are taught that 9th grade is the time when admission counselors begin to scrutinize grades, SAT scores, behavior, etc. While many middle school students do not understand the concept of a GPA or the importance of standardized tests, the Admission Adventure takes time to explain these concepts so that students get a better understanding of what is expected of them in the high school classroom. The presentation also talks about opportunities for students after high school, such as trade schools, community colleges, and four-year institutions. Finally, financial aid and scholarship opportunities are discussed with students to help them understand that college is an affordable and attainable goal.

Academic Adventure

Subject to availability

Bulldogs Learning German

We will work with the students to teach them a little bit of beginner German! Students will travel from station to station (3) learning how to say different things and participate in hands on activities!

Discovering Spaces

We will be exploring surfaces with unusual properties. The questions and topics are an introduction to the mathematical field of topology.

EDUC 320: College and Career Readiness

In pairs, EDUC 320 students will lead college-based activities to provide students insights into college course content and information.

Exploring Our World Through Chemistry

Hands-on activities demonstrating the chemical properties of household items.

Hands-On Physics

We will have physics demonstrations of electricity and magnetism, mechanics of motion, and extreme temperatures (liquid nitrogen).

Library Flash Fiction

Students let their creativity loose through a guided writing activity utilizing library resources. We also get hands-on with some of the varied type of resources the library offers!

Neuroscience: The Electronic Cockroach

We will introduce students to the brain and neural functions through interactive demonstrations.

Pharmacy Fun

Learn how to read a medication label by participating in our Over The Counter Scavenger Hunt!

The Skies are Alive!: Observational Weather in a Growing World

Discuss how weather impacts our lives, what we do to prepare for it by reading information from instruments, and how Meteorology is not just about predicting the weather for the next day. We will also discuss what kind of future you can have with a study in Atmospheric Sciences.

Spanish on Campus

In our activity, we will be teaching the students vocabulary words through a story. The participants will then compete in a game in order to test their new vocabulary words.