Four CCSC juniors and College Counselor Nadira Hairston spent part of April break in the Los Angeles area, visiting five colleges: UCLA, California Institute of Technology, Claremont McKenna College, Occidental College, and Whittier College. Their travel expenses were funded, in part, by a grant from the Moses Kimball Fund, which helps support the school’s comprehensive college counseling program.
The California schools the group visited represent a broad spectrum of schools, and visiting them helped the juniors better gauge their personal preferences regardless of geography: public university versus private college; urban versus suburban campus; large versus small student body. The schools’ academic specialties span technology and engineering, government and economics, film and media, and the liberal arts.
Encouraging more CCSC students to consider schools outside the New England region, where they might discover unique programs that match their academic interests, as well as benefit from geographic diversity in the admission process, is one goal of trips like this one. The importance of college visits cannot be understated in helping students determine which schools to apply to, and later – once they have acceptances in hand – where they will matriculate, but most families do not have the financial resources to travel outside the northeast. Mehret Tadesse ’14, said, “The trip taught me how valuable college tours are in choosing the right school. I will make sure to visit any school’s campus before I commit to it.”
The Internet makes it easy to gather information about schools across the country, but the students learned there is no substitute for an actual campus tour. According to Tristan Pepin ’14, “A web page can tell you statistics about the college, but only a visit can give you an idea of how it actually feels to be on campus, how it truly looks there, and how the people really act there. All five of the schools we saw were interesting on paper. But only one of them gave me what I call ‘The Vibe.’ It was a gut feeling. I could see myself going there. I now plan on applying to that school.”
Last fall, a group of seniors visited several schools in the Washington, DC area. Subsequently, several seniors applied to, and some were accepted at, mid-Atlantic colleges like Howard University, American University, and Goucher College.