Changes in junior college trip

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Students often say that they knew they wanted to attend a specific college when they stepped onto the campus, got a certain feeling, and told themselves, “This is where I want to spend four years of my life.” An important way to see if a school is the right place is to visit many campuses. For the past few years, college trips have been hosted for juniors to explore the campuses of regions beyond New York City. As opposed to previous years, in which the college trip was a weekend long trip with overnight stays, the college trip this year will be broken up into three separate day trips.

Social studies teacher Franco Scardino started the program with former college advisor Ms. Teague. Mr. Scardino said, “The goal was to expose kids to different colleges and college settings, to give them an idea of what the environment is like. These tours provide students with opportunities to have informational sessions.”

“We ran three trips,” continued Mr. Scardino, “One contained the schools between New Haven and Boston, another in Upstate New York, visiting the private schools and SUNYs, and the last one was from Philadelphia to Washington DC.

After Ms. Teague left and the college office closed, Mr. Scardino continued hosting the trips until last year when the guidance department and college counselors took over the responsibility.

Assistant Principal of Pupil Personnel Services Veronica York said, “Visiting schools is important, it gives students ways to view schools with their friends and with professionals probing them in the right direction.”

When asked about the change from a weekend trip to day trips, Ms. York explained, “These trips are pretty expensive and we’re trying to bring it under $100 as opposed to the over $300 students would pay for a weekend long trip. The goal is to schedule three very different areas and explore the colleges in that region and hopefully appeal to more students.”

SU President and former Junior Class President Jason Mills assisted Mr. Scardino in planning the college weekend.

“I think that there is an up and downside to this new idea,” said Jason. “It allows for more people to go on the trip at more affordable costs, which is amazing. However, it also diminishes a key aspect of the college trip: seeing many different types of campuses. Everyone is not going to get into Harvard, Boston College, or Wesleyan, but these colleges offer very different experiences and it is nice for students to experience a myriad of college environments before they actually choose.”

Parent Coordinator Dafne Manhart, who often chaperones these college trips, said, “These trips are very important. My two sons did not have this opportunity when they attended high school, which is why I go on them now. I used to tell my sons, ‘A building is a building,’ but my son would argue and say, ‘No mom, you get a feeling, and that feeling really matters, it really impacts your decision.’”

Junior Daniel Yacar said, “The point of this trip is to walk through the college experience and to help unite the junior grade. I am not planning on attending this trip because part of the fun is sleeping away from home for a weekend and experiencing a real taste of college.”

Arvinder Singh, senior, said, “One of the schools we visited last year was Boston University and ever since visiting the campus I realized that it was one of my top options. This trip was fundamental towards my decision making process.”

Marco Gallagher, senior, prefers the weekend trip: “Personally, after attending said trip, I feel like splitting it up wouldn’t be as effective or fun. You’d be seeing less colleges per trip and wouldn’t be able to compare them as easily.”

Senior Gabriella Niyazov says, “Grouping all the colleges and seeing all the possibilities opens your mind up to more than what you initially had your mind set on.”

Not everyone felt like a weekend away with classmates was essential to making a decision.  “I didn’t attend the college trip as a junior,” said Senior Laura O’Shea, “but it still didn’t impact my college process as I was still able to choose the schools that were best for me. Although it would have been a good experience, I’m still very happy with my decision.”