Nothing shows high school students what higher education is all about like a college tour. That’s why every year, students in our College4Careers program use part of their spring break to go on an out-of-state college tour.
This year, ten students and three Future Foundation staff members boarded a bus and visited six colleges in Florida. Their two-colleges-a-day schedule took them to the University of Florida, Florida State University, Florida A&M, Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters College and University of Central Florida over the course of three days.
“The tour provides the students with a 360-degree view of the college experience,” says Chris Latson, College 4 Careers Program Manager. “It takes them from talking about college to actually picturing themselves at college.”
The students make the most of each day of the tour, meeting with admissions, financial aid and student services departments on each campus. They also learn about any multi-cultural support that may exist within each school. “Many students are the first one in their family to go to college,” explains Chris. “We want to make sure they have all the support necessary to not only enter college, but also to stay there.”
The tour is an eye-opening experience for many in the group. One student—a high school sophomore—said the college visits drove home an important point: “The fact that I need to earn a higher GPA in order to get accepted to good schools,” he says. For another student, the tour opened up a world of options she hadn’t considered before. “At first I wanted to stay in Georgia,” she says. “But now I am considering whether I want to stay in state or go to school out of state.”
After each tour, the group takes time to reflect on the college they just visited, enabling the students to capture the experience and think about what they learned from the visit. “Our reflection time gives the students a chance to write down their thoughts about each college,” says Chris. “That gives them something to share with their family when they get home.”
We asked a high school sophomore and junior to tell us about their college tour experience. Here’s what they told us.
How would you describe your experience on the College Tour?
It was fun and interesting. Some of the schools like FAMU caught my attention and stood out to me.
What stuck with you the most?
The fact that I need to earn a higher GPA in order to get accepted to good schools.
Did your thoughts about attending a University change after the trip?
Yes. At first I wanted to stay in Georgia, but now I am considering whether I want to stay in state or go to school out of state.
Yes, most definitely. I want to attend either Florida State or FAMU now.
Would you attend this trip again or recommend it to other students?
Yes, because you get a better understanding of educational opportunities.
Yes, because I get to see what other schools have to offer.