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Students Tour Carolina Colleges

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Feb. 15-18, a record number 36 Pace sophomores and juniors piled onto a tour bus and spent their President’s Day weekend visiting eight popular colleges throughout North and South Carolina. Pace students have taken this trip in the past, and it has proven to be a great way to get a first-hand look at a variety of different schools. The trip is organized by a company called College Visits. “The tour is meant to expose you to different kinds of colleges and universities,” said newest member of the college counseling team Ms. Nuckolls, “It’s here to help you understand the vocabulary words and to help you develop your own vocabulary for what you’re looking for.”

The trek began Friday afternoon with a long bus ride and a tour of Clemson University. The tour bus itself, a large steel monster plastered in orange letters reading “Christian Tours” (complete with sing-a-long books in every seat), proved to play a prominent role on the trip when it broke down at a gas station in Greenville, S.C., causing the group to miss their scheduled tour of Furman University. “We were stranded for a long while until a new bus came to shuttle us to Furman in time for dinner in the cafeteria,” said junior Corey Richards, “We didn’t end up getting to the hotel till 12:30 a.m. It was exhausting.” Day two of the tour yielded a surprise day of snow that later turned into a cold sleet at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Much to the students’ disappointment, none of the snow accumulated on the ground, but the cold, wet weather made the Starbucks and Caribou Coffee on Franklin St. all the more enjoyable.

Day three, what was considered to be the most hectic day of the tour, included three schools: Elon University, Wake Forest University, and Highpoint University (HPU). HPU was one of the most talked about schools of the trip for its lavish, hotel-esque facilities, giant arcade room, campus concierge that provides everything from hospitality to doing your laundry, and even an on-campus, five-star steak house included in the student meal plan. “It’s a utopia of sorts,” said sophomore Erin Rawls on Highpoint, “It’s crazy!”

Yet HPU’s opulent grounds were not all fun and games; the large marble steps of the university’s student center were the scene of the trip’s medical accident. “Highpoint was definitely not my favorite,” commented sophomore Patrick Moore, “It broke me.” Patrick, along with two other students, took a nasty fall that resulted in a late night emergency hospital trip for Patrick to mend his swelling kneecap. “It was very dramatic and I was very lonely without my roommate,” said sophomore Dylan Abbot on the incident, “but it ended up OK because he made it back in time for U.S.C. the next morning.” The tour ended with the University of South Carolina on Presidents’ Day, then it was back to Atlanta for some much needed sleep.
Students on the tour not only got to see and learn about all of the different colleges, but in some cases had the opportunity to view them from the eyes of someone who was once in the very spot they are now in. Pace Academy alumni, including Cameron Winders and Grant Kelly (both Class of 2012) at Duke, and Stephen Merritt (Class of 2011), Zach Lamb, and Emily Wilson (both Class of 2012) at Wake Forest, stopped by to show their fellow Pace friends around their new school. “Carley Gaynes [Class of 2011] showed my group around Elon,” said junior Marc Bernstein, “She was my peer leader back in freshman year so that was cool to see how she’s doing and have her compare her college experience to her Pace one.”
Students on the tour not only got to see and learn about all of the different colleges, but in some cases had the opportunity to view them from the eyes of someone who was once in the very spot they are now in. Pace Academy alumni, including Cameron Winders and Grant Kelly (both Class of 2012) at Duke, and Stephen Merritt (Class of 2011), Zach Lamb, and Emily Wilson (both Class of 2012) at Wake Forest, stopped by to show their fellow Pace friends around their new school. “Carley Gaynes [Class of 2011] showed my group around Elon,” said junior Marc Bernstein, “She was my peer leader back in freshman year so that was cool to see how she’s doing and have her compare her college experience to her Pace one.”

Overall, the college tour was a success. This one weekend gave students a taste of many different types of colleges, and even exposed some students to their first college experiences. “It’s cool that Pace Academy gives us the opportunity to go around and see these schools,” junior Nathan Sokolic said, “I’ve learned a lot on the tour and I hope it helps me out in the long run throughout the application process.”

By Riley Muse, Staff Writer ’14


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