High school students are faced with one of the most critical decision of our lives: choosing which college(s) to apply and commit to.
This process can obviously be quite stressful at times. At times, I refuse to even let myself think about college, because I am so stuck in this moment. It is an incredible milestone in our lives. We are forced to make “grown-up” decisions before we are realistically ready for that.
A key factor that many seniors have found helpful in this college search is the campus visit. I have yet to hear of a campus that does not offer visiting days with professors and students, campus tours, or the chance to sit in on a lecture. My favorite opportunity is being able to stay in an actual college dorm. Not only would these college tours give you an idea of the academic aspect of a particular school, but they would also show you its social aspect.
Whether you are staying local or going a little farther away, a campus visit is definitely something to consider.
Seniors Jennifer Daley and Kristi Adams recently traveled to Long Island, New York to visit Hofstra University. Daley did not get all she was hoping for: “After visiting Manhattan and Hempstead (where Hofstra is), it made me realize that I almost wish I would have applied to New York University instead of Hofstra. The campus [of Hofstra] was great, but the area around it wasn’t exactly welcoming, plus the dorms weren’t that great,” stated Daley. Her visit ended up swaying her original opinion of the school. “I pictured the campus being in a nicer place; it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, not my ideal location.” She couldn’t help but think, “Why would I travel all the way to the other side of the country to go to a school that isn’t close to what I absolutely want?” Daley has decided to put Hofstra on the side for now, to contemplate all her options.
I am, by no means, saying that all the seniors are going to have the ability and resources to travel to New York. But if you have a college in mind that isn’t exactly local, give it a shot. It may just change your whole perspective.
That is exactly what happened with senior Jake Lux when he made the trip to Northern Arizona University. Most of us see colleges in pictures or brochures. Lux explained how much he favored seeing the campus and all the facilities in person. He was also able to engage in conversation and gather information from both students and the professors that he may someday work with.
The social aspect of a school is a much bigger deal than some might think. Lux previewed many of the different clubs and activities on campus.
He “initially didn’t think [the school] was for him. It wasn’t intriguing, just seemed like another college.” After being aware of the opportunities the school offered, how the dorms looked, and the general area of the school, he decided he “could see [himself] living there for the next four years.”
Senior Molly Settles is committed to Johnson and Wales University in Denver, Colorado. She had the opportunity to travel to the school for a weekend and play with the volleyball team. She truly experienced how she could potentially be a student at that school.
“I absolutely fell in love with the school. Before going, I thought I would go there, and after going I knew I had to go there and no matter what because I loved everything about it and the city of Denver,” expressed Settles.
On the other hand, senior Chris Byers (like many others in the senior class) has decided to stay local and attend Orange Coast College.
“My visit influenced my decision because [I was able] to see the campus and how difficult it is going to be to navigate my classes. Plus, who doesn’t want to go to a nice school? A nice campus makes me look forward to going to school because with a nice, neat atmosphere, it influences me to want to learn and achieve greater things,” Byers explained.
For those seniors who may be sure about a school, but have not visited, I would consider doing so. After all, this is where we could potentially spend the next four years of our lives.
Written by Kelsey Armstrong