On the third weekend of February, 16 Pace students traveled to Boston to visit a number of colleges in the area. The group of sophomores and juniors, led by college counselor Lee Nuckolls and sophomore class dean Brooks Fleming, visited Harvard University, Boston University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, Northeastern University and Emerson College, among others.
Pace sponsors a college visit every year, but this year’s trip was put into peril by a snowstorm that hit Atlanta during the days prior to departure. Hundreds of flights in and out of Atlanta were delayed or cancelled as a result of winter weather, which forced the students to modify their schedule. “We flew into Boston the day after we were supposed to get there, which meant that we missed Boston College,” said Ms. Nuckolls. The delay also cut into the time that students would have had to work on assignments from school. However, the weather had few other adverse effects, and most of the students enjoyed the snow in Boston. “We got [about] nine inches of snow on Saturday night, and it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in Atlanta,” said junior Trevor Cefalu, “It made the two recent Snowpocalypses look like flurries.” Junior Rebecca Husk added, “There were piles of snow everywhere. We had so many snowball fights, and I really missed it when I got home.”
Students toured a wide variety of colleges, from large universities to small urban colleges, and their preferences varied. “My favorite school we visited had to be MIT… they embraced all of their little quirks and traditions,” said Rebecca, “I mean, any school where the students put cars on the roof just for fun has got to be pretty incredible.” Trevor favored Harvard: “I love the Cambridge area. I think it’s a really cool city to be in. Also, the academics are obviously incredible.”
Although the college tour’s focus is to expose students to different kinds of colleges, many of the students identified colleges that they will likely apply to as seniors. “I’ll definitely apply to Babson and Northeastern,” said junior Dylan Abbot, “[Northeastern] had an interesting psychology program, which I’m looking at.” Sophomore Harrison Ray plans to apply to both MIT and Olin College of Engineering. “I want to go into something with engineering or sciences, and there is no better place for that than MIT,” he said, “Plus, I liked the layout and feel of the campus.”
The Pace students were joined in Boston by six girls from an international school in Switzerland. Although they came from Austria, India, Ukraine, China and Japan, they got along well with the group from Pace. “It was really cool to have some non-Pace kids on the trip and hear about their high school experiences,” said junior Lydia James. “They did seem to be kind of confused with our obsession with snow, though,” said Rebecca.
The college trip helped orient students towards the kinds of schools that might be right for them. “The main thing that I took away from this trip was how important it is to actually visit college campuses,” said Lydia, “Every college makes itself look great on paper or on their website, but you only get a realistic picture of how it feels if you visit.” “I learned… that I can find my place wherever I end up going to college,” said Rebecca, “Even at the colleges I thought would be horrible for me, visiting them I realized that I would be able to find lifelong friends and get involved no matter where I go.”