Seniors (and Juniors) Plunge Into College Visits

Seniors Kate Bethel and Sophie Zelony (L-R) visited University of Georgia and went to a football game during a weekend in October. Photo: Sophie Zelony

Seniors Kate Bethel and Sophie Zelony (L-R) visited University of Georgia and went to a football game during a weekend in October. Photo: Sophie Zelony

As first semester nears an end, the thought of Senioritis among the seniors looms. However, this cannot kick in until the college applications are finished and sent off. Before seniors determine their fate and select which colleges they want to apply to, many students visit various colleges on long weekends and breaks. 

The purpose of visiting colleges is to give prospective students a sense of what college life is like at that particular school. When visiting, students can go on campus tours, hear presentations on specific aspects of the college, and ask their student tour guides any questions that they might have. “Students need to feel the vibe and see the student atmosphere at colleges, so it is very important that prospective students visit colleges before they make their final decision,” said college counselor Jonathan Ferrell. “If they don’t do this, then it is impossible to see how they would fit in at the school.”

So far seniors Kate Bethel and Kaki Cox have visited Auburn University. Kate applied to Auburn and has already been accepted. “I’ve been going to Auburn since I was five years old with my dad for game day, so it was really cool to see the school itself this time,” said Kate. “The school was a lot bigger than I had imagined.”

Senior Will Movsovitz has visited multiple colleges, beginning his junior year with the University of Georgia. He has also visited Yale, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of  Pennsylvania and Tulane. His favorite campus that he has visited is Penn because it is in the heart of Philadelphia. “I definitely see myself in a big city in college,” said Will. “I like the vibe that big cities give off and all of the opportunities they have.” While in Philadelphia, he went to a Penn football game to cheer on the Quakers. 

Senior Ashley Estroff has grown up as a University of Texas legacy because her mom attended there. She has visited University of Texas in Austin numerous times and applied early action there, which is non-binding. When she most recently visited, she visited the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority house, which her mom was a member of, and watched the Longhorns play in a football game. “Texas has been my dream school for a very long time,” said Ashley. “I love it more and more each time I visit because Austin is such a great city and UT is an amazing school.”

A question that starts to enter juniors’ minds is, “when is it too early to start thinking about the college process?” Junior Marissa Schwarz spent her fall break visiting as many colleges as she could in the limited amount of time that she had. She traveled throughout the mid East Coast, stopping at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Virginia, Duke, Wake Forest, Elon, Washington and Lee, Georgetown and American University. “It was very overwhelming,” said Marissa. “I think it gave me a good sense of what I like and don’t like in colleges. 

Even though students aren’t assigned college counselors until the end of junior year, kids continue to explore their different college options throughout high school. “It is never too early to start looking at colleges,” said Mr. Ferrell. “However, I think that kids shouldn’t actually start scheduling tours until junior year.”