• Natalie Miller

Seniors Reflect on Their College Visits to Make a Final Decision

“Which colleges are you thinking about?” your parents casually ask you over dinner.

These are only six minuscule words, but they make you tense with uncertainty and cause your thoughts to rampage in a series of hypothetical loopholes.

You may have an idea of what to say, or may say nothing at all. Regardless, you probably won’t feel confident in your answer if you haven’t had an intimate connection with a college.

For any high schooler, this scenario feels very familiar. In truth, choosing a college to attend is a difficult and, frankly, terrifying decision that involves the weighing of many pros and cons to make a final decision. Among some of these deciding factors are financial aid packets, location, academics, and student life---all of which are hard to decipher without visiting the college.

College visits are an integral part of the college decision process. It provides the realistic atmosphere of a college that one may have only seen in pictures or in their mind. After all, it’s difficult to commit to a four-year-long relationship with a college when you can’t picture yourself walking around the campus.

However, visiting a college can be a strenuous task for a student. Financing a trip and its expenses and the timing are some things that can prevent a student from embarking on their college visit.

Fortunately, there are other resources: those who have already visited a college. For some seniors, the golden opportunity for visiting a college was granted and it changed many perspectives on what high school students wanted from their college education.

Eleanor McCoy, a current senior at CHS, had her share of college visits in the New England area, ranging from Harvard, Boston College, and the University of Virginia.

Her best college visit, however, was Wellesley College, a liberal arts women's college located in Boston, Massachusetts.

“You really get a feel of the campus and how it feels to be there.” McCoy states.

Some college visits provided tours as well, enabling seniors to gain more insight into specific features about a particular college.

On her Spelman tour, senior Tytana Calhoun asked questions regarding the classroom atmosphere.

“I asked about student life and faculty because establishing a connection with teachers is the best thing to have,” Calhoun stressed.

Asking questions during a college tour can be helpful as it can give extra information that may be difficult to find on a school website such as lecture information and student gatherings.

“I remember asking how long it is to get around campus because I don’t want a college that takes 45 minutes to get from one side to the other.” McCoy declares.

When is the best time to visit colleges?

“Definitely when there are students in class.” Avery Sutherland expresses, regarding her Agnes Scott college visit. “Whenever students are on campus.”

Weekends and special holidays may be particularly helpful too, as they provide great time periods to explore the college.

After experiencing a college’s campus, student life, and academics on a college visit, one can feel that final effect- the wave of assurance that causes one to apply or feel that a college is “the one”.

After Wellesley, McCoy definitely felt that feeling of assurance.

“Wellesley is my top choice right now, along with Barnard,” McCoy explains.

For others, the college visit was able to reemphasize certain financial values.

“Spelman has always been a fit with me, but what hinders me is the cost,” Calhoun explains matter-of-factly.

On a final note, when choosing a college of “best fit”, it is important to just follow your heart. Decide whether you want to travel far away or stay close home for the upcoming years. Look at programs of your best interest that the college has.

For Sutherland, it was dance programs that she really valued in college.

“Knowing that I wanted to dance in college narrowed [the choices] down a lot,” she states.

A diverse set of students in the classroom and the size of the school may also be determining factors.

Ultimately, it is important to explore these many checkpoints in a college through on-campus visits as it will turn spiraling questions into an attainable reality.

Pictured above is Eleanor McCoy on her senior college visit.


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