As high school seniors are finishing up their college applications, it is time to wonder if much thought was given when applying to certain colleges. Did they apply just because they heard it was a good school? Did they apply because it was an Ivy League? Or, did they apply because their friends applied there too? While these all seem like decent reasons to want to attend a certain school, I think that experiencing the atmosphere of the college is a crucial section in making that decision.
There is always a college for students – whether that be a community of Ivy league school—no matter your grades, essay, or extracurriculars. College is all where you want to be while shaping your future life and knowing that place is crucial to your decision. Applying to a college without experiencing the atmosphere or ambience of that place is risky to your well-being there.
Why is it risky? Well, you may be applying to a college you may hate. Lots of people have this disposition of a college being good just because of its reputation. That is most definitely not true. A college’s rank or eminence may not always reflect the college’s suitability to you. This is why I strongly recommend going on a college tour before selecting your desired school.
Sure, people may think that a college tour is simply observing the campus and nothing more, and that may be true if that is how you go into the tour. When you go to vi sit a campus, I encourage you to imagine going to class there every day, finding a place to study, and walking from location to location every day. Then ask yourself, are these the vibes I prefer to other colleges? It’s similar to high school. I, personally, transferred high schools’ multiple times in my life, and I can assure you that my current high school is a better fit for me than others. It’s not because my high school has the greatest education or because my classes have the best professors, but because of the atmosphere and spirit of the high school A college’s campus, size, race distribution, and location are all things to put into great consideration when applying to a college.
By visiting colleges, you can get the general context of all these constituents. All other things that do not seem clear through physical visibility are available through resources online. Knowing all of these factors can tremendously alter your decision of what college you want to attend. That’s a good thing. You wouldn’t want to be stuck in a college that you don’t enjoy going to, even if its prestigious.
A sophomore at the University of California, Los Angeles, David Yang, got accepted to several great colleges such as Berkely, Georgetown, Boston, etc. He visited all of them and came to the conclusion that UCLA was the right match for him. “I enjoyed the crowded nature and how the classes were so close together. I also really enjoy the type of people there and think that the location and weather of UCLA is just perfect for me,” says David Yang. Making the extra effort to visit these colleges really changed David’s decision on what college he wanted to go to. “My first choice was Georgetown, but after I visited UCLA, I couldn’t imagine a college better suited for me,” said David. Who knows, Georgetown may have also been a really good college for David but going with the safe decision of what you experience is always better.
There are also organizations that help low income students go on these trips for free. An organization called College Match helps provide students with a wide range of free personalized college preparation services and helps students ultimately choose their favored college. I encourage you to either venture yourself on a college tour or sign up for College Match. That way, you will be better prepared for the future one step at a time.
Timothy Lee , Grade 11
Larchmont Charter High School