Debunking the College Visit Dilemma


Victoria Capobianco


Seniors are stressed out trying to finish college apps on top of their regular mountains of homework and busy schedules. But hey, that’s normal right? Well, what happens when a senior wants to gain a better perspective of the colleges she is applying to and leaves school for a few days to travel to prospective campuses?  Once she returns, she has to complete homework she missed, learn material she was not taught, and keep up with work that is assigned when she comes back.

The schedule at Pres only creates more stress for students that want to visit colleges while trying to maintain their schoolwork. Because many campuses take a few hours by car or plane to get to, many seniors take at least one day off from school to travel to faraway universities.

In Presentation’s first semester the whopping two holidays (excluding Thanksgiving and Winter break) provide little opportunity for seniors to have a chance to visit schools. The Columbus and Labor Day holidays serve as the only days off from school, while the second semester is full of random holidays and breaks.

Trust me, I am definitely not complaining about getting days off from school, but it would be more practical for these holidays to be given in the first semester to benefit seniors who want to visit colleges without sacrificing their grades. More days off in the first semester would mean seniors could freely visit colleges without the worry of missing a pivotal lecture or  making up three different tests once they return.

Of course, there are the age-old arguments that students can visit schools over the summer or wait to travel to colleges to see if they are accepted and then visit during a holiday in the second semester, but these strategies leave out important factors that could help with the admissions process.

Students travelling to schools over the summer do not get the opportunity to see the campus in full-swing. The College Board website even suggests that the ideal time for college visits is on weekdays before the college’s application is due. By visiting when class is in session, students can see the day-to-day happenings of the college and get a feel for the campus lifestyle. It is a great way for prospective applicants to determine if they can picture themselves attending that university.

Waiting to visit a campus until after a student is admitted is also risky. The cost of sending students’ test scores, transcripts, and  applications quickly adds up. If the student ends up gaining admission to the school, visiting, and deciding that she does not actually like the campus, then she just wasted a large sum of money and a huge chunk of time spent filling out the application on a school she did not even like because she did not previously visit it.

Presentation should rework its schedule to aid seniors who plan to leave school for college visits. The days earned from Mag Drive or the random  second semester holidays, such as the one on March 7, could be moved to the first semester, thus extending weekends and giving seniors more time to spend at campuses without the pressure of drowning in absent work.

Granted, it’s not as easy as simply switching some days from the spring to the fall because the number of teaching days per semester has to be the same. Either we would need to push finals until after the holiday break–definitely not an ideal solution–or, we could simply start school a few days earlier. We already start in mid-August, so a few days earlier is not that big of a deal. Students might complain at first, but when that much needed October break comes around, they’ll be glad for the early start.

Nevertheless, if the schedule for Pres’ holidays is totally immovable, all teachers  who have class with seniors should communally designate specific weekends or weekdays to limit the amount of homework, tests, or projects  that are due in order to give students a chance to visit schools minus the stress.

Pres could implement specific college weekends or weekdays for the upper division teachers. These days would follow the same rules as Dead Days for finals where no tests or long-term projects would be due.  Another rule could be added in which no long-term projects should be assigned until one or two days after the college weekend in order to give students ample time to catch up on missed homework or lessons.

Everyone knows high school is stressful enough as it is. Adding the pressure to miss school and travel to colleges only creates a bigger cloud of dread for the senior class. Pres should implement concrete ways to combat this stressful time. Hopefully, before the senioritis kicks in.