College Visits: Endless Benefits

Paige M.

Managing Editor

As students begin to attain a higher level of education and pursue their high school career, the need to explore options for the future becomes crucial. The modern day social clock leads students to plan on attending college directly after high school, and because this is the case for many, it is essential to explore college options early on and experience campuses of interest first hand.

Many people grow up unsure of what career they would enjoy having for the rest of their lives or where they want to live, but the rare few who are confident in this aspect of their lives are privileged with having fewer decisions to make. Knowing the general area of where one would want to go to college is a huge benefit in narrowing the selection process. One of the many ways to find out if the student likes a location is to visit the college campuses they are interested in. During this time, students may discover that they either love or hate a campus, and this could easily make or break a college decision. Many people who go on college visits also choose to stay with someone they know rather than in a hotel to experience dorms, parties, and other on-campus events. This gives the student the full feel of the college rather than just a small taste, which general college tours provide.

Touring is another very important aspect in visiting colleges. Almost all universities have tours throughout the year, inviting students and parents to visit the campus. Scheduling one of these tours provides the informational details to a college, as well as some of the historical aspects as well. Ms. Maria Robinson, counselor at Woodstock High School, said, “College tours offer information about class size, resources to help ensure students are academically successful, costs, and ways to get financial assistance/scholarships to a specific school.” When visiting a college, it is highly recommended to go on a tour with the school on one of the days that the student stays there for these reasons and many more. Ms. Robinson also ensures, “The visits will help with understanding what colleges expect in a student and what they can offer.” Colleges do a near to flawless job of showing visitors around and making them feel at home. To fully comprehend a college’s full potential, a student must experience it firsthand.

Many students choose to start exploring post-secondary education options during their junior year in high school. This is the prime time to do so because SAT, ACT, and other college admission requirements are becoming a priority. The earlier students begin College Visits 2 PMto look at colleges, the better. Ms. Robinson notes, “It is never too early to start looking at colleges.” Students should take this into consideration as they begin to make plans to plans to attend a post-secondary school.

It is essential to have a list of desired colleges to attend. Creating a list helps to keep ideas organized and eventually helps the student to choose the college that is best for him or her. Coach Ricky Glasper, personal fitness and track coach at Woodstock High School, stated, “I would say that it is best to start looking at colleges no later than your junior year. It would be great to visit as many as possible, but narrowing it down to about four would be good. Athletics is no different; you still need to visit the colleges that are offering you scholarships to see if you like them.” Narrowing down the list to about 4-5 colleges of extreme interest makes visiting a majority of them realistic. Out of these few colleges, it will be easy to see which ones are a top pick based on the pros and cons discovered during the visit. Students going to college for athletics or something else specific, such as a certain major, are no different in this aspect. It is still crucial to have specific ideas in mind of where they will be spending the next few years of their life making memories and having a worthwhile time.

Some people have had their college choices mapped out since they were just kids, and others have preferences towards specific colleges due to sports. Brennan Heyer, junior at Woodstock High School, said, “Duke has always been my favorite basketball team and one of my top choices for college. I’ve already visited the campus and attended a few games, and I love it.” Sports play a huge factor in the decisions that a student makes on where to go to college. Many seem to want the SEC experience; therefore, they only apply and tour larger schools with developed football teams. Other students have a particular school in mind due to where they would like to participate in athletics. This applies to Alarii Lopez, a senior at Woodstock High School who swims competitively. Lopez said, “When I visited LSU, it was just something different. The campus was beautiful, the coaches were energetic and friendly, and the team was closer than any other ground of people I’ve been around. When I visited Georgia Tech, Yale, and Columbia, each other them had some of the same qualities, but they simply could not put them all together like LSU did. In addition, I get to compete in the SEC, which is the most competitive swim conference.” Lopez plans to attend LSU following senior year and swim with their team.

In addition to the draw athletics provide, many students also have older siblings, so college visits offer an opportunity to visit the colleges where their siblings reside to see if those schools are a fit. Heyer states, “My brother is three years older than me, so I was exposed to the college process very early on. I went to some college visits with him, and I am every familiar with the University of Alabama campus due to the fact that this is where my brother chose to go.”

Choosing a college is one of the most high stress situations of high school. Decisions are difficult when it comes to the rest of someone’s life, but visiting the places a student might spend it make that decision much easier. By doing so, students can experience first-hand the kind of atmosphere and environment they will be surrounded by, as well as the people, education, and other key components of life. Many people may have their mind set on a college and then completely change their paths once they visit it. It is important and so very beneficial to do so, and to do so early on. Make a list, narrow it down, and go visit some colleges. You will not regret your choice.

 

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