Kicking Into Gear With College Visits


Mya Figueroa , staff Writer

For many, the time to start thinking seriously about college is very near. Sometimes the college search is beyond nerve wracking and students have trouble figuring out a starting point. However, anxiety of the college search can be prevented with one little tip— visit colleges before you make any decisions of where to spend the next few years of your life. For college- bound students, visiting colleges helps make the  college search process a little less stressful because it enables students to get a better sense of themselves and the college they wish to attend.

Students who visit colleges beforehand find that it is easier to ultimately decide whether or not a college is right for them. One of the best ways to do this is to call up a college of your choice and schedule a visit. If possible, you should ask the college if admissions officers can help implement a shadow day, where you can  follow around a college student who is majoring in the same area that you’re interested in. That way, you can get a feel for what it really means to be a college student at a specific university.  

From a college administrator’s perspective, it is highly recommended to get to know as much about a college as possible. “If you know what you want to study, find places that offer what you want to get into, and go for it,” said Linda Buchanan, the associate dean of curricular development and the head of the scenic design program at DePaul University. “It is important to find a school that is academically safe with an inviting environment. You want to make sure you are in a place where you will be comfortable with the students and faculty. Otherwise, you end up settling. Settling isn’t good because you end up unhappy and initially end up transferring to somewhere else.”

The first few visits to a college can be intimidating at first, but they are definitely worth it. Visiting a college not only gives you a better sense of the college atmosphere, but also allows for you to be on good terms with the college representatives. “Visiting colleges is very important because it allows for a better sense of your physical environment,” said Buchanan. “You can get a better sense of not only the community, but also the faculty. I think it’s very important to establish that kind of relationship.”

Those who currently attend college also find visiting colleges a useful aide to taking the next step in a college career. Recently, The Theater School of DePaul University held their annual Theater Debut in which high school students who are interested in the school can visit the school, meet one on one with some of the school’s faculty, and can talk to a panel of students to get a feel for the school and its atmosphere. “I think it’s good to have things like Theater Debut or any other programs different colleges may have,” said Ben Claus, a senior at DePaul University. “Visiting opportunities such as Theater Debut can really help further solidify what you want to do in life.”

Some students may still find themselves in the process of determining whether or not college is truly for them. If students find themselves facing this dilemma, it’s important that they make an effort to talk to college students. College students can be a great resource and sounding board for someone who is still trying to decide whether or not to take that next step. hey already went through the process themselves and are more than willing to offer up some advice about how they came to the decisions they did. “As a student, I believe college really helps develop who you are as a person,” said Alexa Santiago, a senior at DePaul University. Santiago came from her home in Puerto Rico just so she could pursue her college career as a stage manager. “Leaving my home and coming to college for the first time was really scary in the beginning but it allowed me to learn a lot about myself and that’s something that I think is really great.’’

While college isn’t for everyone, it doesn’t hurt to give college a second thought. If any RLHS students have any questions on where to begin their college adventure, they should feel free to ask either their counselor or the college counselor, Mr. Christopher Chiakulas.  It’s never too early to get the ball rolling on determining your future.