THHS takes a trip to college

HTML tutorial

By Yamila Frej, Angelina Jimenez, and Ava Nabatkhoran Staff Writer

Townsend Harris juniors and seniors attended a two-day college trip on Friday, October 12 to Saturday, October 13. THHS students visited six colleges: Wesleyan University, Boston University, Brown University, Northeastern University, Harvard University, and Yale University.

According to guidance counselor and head planner Jeremy Wang, plans for the trip began last May. The first step was to contact the colleges and book them for 50 students. Hotels had to be booked early because as Mr. Wang noted, “October is a very popular season when people go up to New England to see the foliage change.”

During the five-month long process, Mr. Wang encountered a few obstacles, the biggest being how crowded Saturdays are on campuses. “A lot of colleges are not offering group tours… they figure groups can come on weekdays and individuals can come on weekends, so they accommodate [the individuals],” he explained. Group tours of these campuses like those of Harvard and BU were made possible through THHS alumni currently attending those schools. Tours were led by four alumni at Boston University, three at Northeastern, and one at Harvard.

The first stop was Yale University in Connecticut. Junior class president Annlin Su said, “My favorite moment was possibly the bus ride. There were so many different fun things happening. At times, people were singing, laughing, screaming, and just having a fun time.”

“It was fun because you could play games with your friends or catch up on sleep,” added junior Emily Tan. “The bus itself was perfect and roomy with outlets to charge your phones.”

Students were greeted with a breakfast, an information session, and a Yale campus tour. “My favorite college was Yale University because of the campus’ ambiance,” Emily said. “The streets are small enough so that you wouldn’t get run over by a car but the area is still close to civilization.”

From Yale, students headed to Wesleyan and Brown University. The group finished their travels with visits to Northeastern, Harvard, and Boston University. Kathy Ling, Townsend Harris alumna and Harvard freshman, gave students information not only about the campus, but her personal application experience. Kathy attended the college trip in the fall of 2016 during her junior year. “A lot of my list had been based off of what a lot of my peers were applying to, and after seeing the schools in person I was able to make more confident choices about where I wanted to apply,” Kathy said.

The college trip is seen as a chance to learn more about possible future colleges. Junior Dino Mulani learned about how certain schools vary with class requirements as the different forms of scholarship. “I learned that some schools have open curriculum while others are more liberal based and require you to take classes for all four [core] subjects. I even learned about the difference of need based scholarships and merit.” In addition, junior Jennifer Jiang realized that good grades do not guarantee acceptance to these top tier schools. “I learned that grades and academics are not the most important part of the college application and what these colleges specifically are looking to find in my application[such as leadership roles and  extracurriculars]. Many students also find that the college trip provides an opportunity to enjoy an overnight trip with their friends. Junior Jaime Tran said, “My favorite part of the trip was getting to know what colleges I might consider applying to, and being able to go with friends.”

Junior Noah Pearlstein added, “You have to go see a school to know if you’ll want to spend four to five years of your life there. It isn’t a good idea to choose without going to actually see the schools.”

Though seats for this college trip were in high demand, some students may be daunted by the idea of attending a college far from home. Townsend alumna Emily Chu, who led one of the group tours at Boston University where she is a freshman, stated, “I really hope the juniors, when they go to college, remember that while it may first be uncomfortable and scary and even lonely, all of a sudden everything just clicks, and you adjust.”

Preparations for the next college trip are already under way. Scheduled for February 8, 2019, a group of 50 students will visit Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore, Georgetown, George Washington, and John Hopkins University. Kathy said, “Walking around the city that you’ll be living in for the next four years is incredibly important, because choosing a school is not purely about academics, but also about finding a place you can feel at home.”