The Life Changing Decision
November 15, 2013
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Senior year is our last year of high school and perhaps our most stressful year. As students we must balance school with our many college applications. Yet one of the most difficult tasks of applying to college is not the college application itself, but rather deciding where to apply. As we decide where to apply one of the best ways of deciding where to apply is to visit the campus.Which is why many colleges across the country are offering programs where they are willing to fly in prospective students to experience their campuses.
Visitation programs exist at most colleges and are offered to prospective students who have a chance of being admitted to the college. These programs usually last approximately two to three days and consist of a college tour, dorm experience, special events, interviews, and a chance to attend a college class. All expenses are often paid including transportation, food, and lodging.
By attending these exciting programs students are able to explore many different types of colleges and get a better feel for them. It is very important to start thinking about all aspects of college from the academics to the social life, especially since students will spend the next four to five years at that specific college. While all colleges are superb, the same college can be attractive to one student but very dull to another. Which is why we must begin to apply to colleges that contain our preferences whether they are for an urban university in the heart of Manhattan or a small rural college in the cornfields of Iowa. Thus a college visit is the best way to find out if we truly want to spend the next couple of years at a specific college.
However, like regular college admissions, these programs are extremely competitive as students will be competing against students from across the nation.
While attending these programs certainly does not guarantee admission to the college; Ms. Golden– King/Drew’s College Counselor– advises that, “With excellent grades and a successful senior year attending a college visit is icing on the cake and seals the deal for admissions.”
While attending these programs can be a very fun experience, academically, they can be very costly. Because students miss a couple days of school, they can easily fall behind. However Ms. Golden advises, “ The benefits outweigh the cost. The goal for taking AP and Honors courses are to prepare you for college and the goal for visits are to give a quick view of the college.”
One student in particular is very excited about these wonderful opportunities. Opemipo Akerele (Ope), a senior and college peer counselor, has been accepted to not one but four of these programs at some of the nations most well-respected colleges. In the fall semester she will be visiting Amherst, Swarthmore, Williams, and Wellesley; all colleges on the East Coast. When asked why it is so important to attend these programs Ope replied, “…I’ve never been to these four schools and I want to get a fit for it, visit the campus, and see if I belong there.” Though in total she will be missing about a week of school she says, “It’s is defiantly worth it as it will be beneficial and find out my fit and find out what to write in my college essays and I will be staying on top of my work to catch up.” Ope originally found out about these program through research and a program called Minds Matter.
If you are interested in a specific school, research the school and see if they offer a similar program. If the deadline has passed do not worry, colleges will offer more programs in the spring for accepted applicants.