Although most high school students think of Spring Break as a time for beaches and relaxation, many Leesville juniors took advantage of a long break from school to make college visits. Some students took guided tours, others sat in on college classes, and some just wandered the campuses of the schools they were most interested in.
Although not having to miss school was a big reason for visiting during Spring Break, it was the opportune time to visit college campuses because classes were in session at most schools. “I liked seeing the students there [at Appalachian State University],” said Jonathan Wendt, junior. “I felt like I saw the life of the school. I needed to get a good grasp of what colleges are actually like and not just go off of what I’ve heard.”
Wendt liked what he saw at Appalachian, and he plans to apply there this summer. Visiting ASU also taught gave Wendt some insight about what colleges are like in general: “I was surprised to see how diverse college students are – they don’t all just look like frat boys,” said Wendt.
Zack Ellerby, junior, also visited colleges over Spring Break, focusing primarily on historically black colleges according to his parents’ wishes. Although he said his parents “forced” him to look into these schools, he came away with helpful information when it comes to the college search, and even added another school to his list of colleges to apply to.
“I visited Morgan State, Hampton, Temple and Lincoln, and I might apply to Temple,” said Ellerby. “It’s a Division One school and has a great campus.” By visiting during Spring Break, he saw how active the students are around the campus and learned what types of activities they involve themselves in.
Ellerby was also surprised to learn that historically black colleges offer the same opportunities as other universities throughout the U.S.
Danny Gerowitz and Rebecca Dixon, both juniors, also visited schools that they were interested in over Spring Break. They chose to take guided tours of the colleges they visited in order to gain more information than wandering the campus could offer.
Gerowitz toured UNC-Chapel Hill, where his tour guide emphasized the importance of applicants challenging themselves while in high school. “It made college seem harder to get into than I thought,” said Gerowitz. “The tour guide kept talking about how important it is to get A’s in AP classes.”
Along with providing admissions information, the guide at UNC talked about the history of the school, the athletics program, and student life. Although Gerowitz was already planning to apply to Chapel Hill, making the visit and taking a tour strengthened his interest in the school and gave him some much needed information on how to get in.
Dixon also took a guided tour of the college she is most interested in – Johns Hopkins University, where she also sat in on a class. She observed as a guest lecturer spoke and learned what to expect in a college class – and noticed how it was different from high school.
“There were no activities planned for the students; it was just one long lecture, and he [the guest speaker] didn’t have to take the time to discipline the students,” said Dixon.
“It was nice to sit in on a college class. Most tours focus on student life and different facts about the school, but they don’t tell you much about what classes are like,” said Dixon. “It helped me get a better idea of the academic part of college.”
Whether students visited colleges to just walk around the campus and get an idea of what the school is like, or actually took tours and sat in on classes, Spring Break was a popular time for juniors to make trips to schools they are interested in.