Five Hayes High School students spent their spring break travelling to New York City, Rhode Island, and Boston to visit 10 universities and learn about the college process.
The trip was organized by Hayes High School College and Career Counselor Jennifer Pollard, who also went on the trip with the students. Pollard said the students spent time touring or at least visiting Boston University, Boston College, Tufts University, Northeastern University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown University, Providence College, New York University and Columbia University.
“We really went to go see all the different colleges just to see what we like and if we were interested in them,” said Shania Hershberger, a junior at Hayes. “The reason I went was I have no idea what kind of school I want to go to. (The trip) really opened up what type of school I want to go to. I kind of realized I don’t want to stay in Ohio, so the trip helped with that. It really helped me look at colleges for myself.”
Hershberger added she plans to study business in college and enjoyed her visit to Boston University because of its business program and its location inside Boston.
Kassidy Lefevre, a sophomore, said her family members have been telling her to go to their various alma maters and said the trip was a great way to learn about colleges and what she wants in a school.
“I actually had no idea where I wanted to go,” Lefevre said. “Now I have a good idea roughly of what I’m looking for and aiming for.” Lefevre said during the trip they also got to hear from admission officials from various schools and received feedback on what makes a good application essay and what colleges are looking for.
“They told us to really stand out and really focus on one thing,” Lefevre said. “It helped open my eyes.”
Sophomore Caliana Cockerham said her sister actually attends Boston University, so she had seen the area and some other colleges in the area, but added she didn’t know what she was actually looking for in a college.
“The trip really gave me a checklist of things I’m interested in with certain colleges,” Cockerham said. She added internship programs, co-ops, and certain programs like engineering and architecture were all on her list of things she wants in a school. Cockerham added that the free time they had to explore the city was also very helpful because it gave them a chance to learn about a city they could potentially spend four years in.
“I didn’t really think you could fall in love with a campus and stuff, but I kind of experienced that with Northeastern,” Cockerham said.
Rachel Gemberling, a sophomore, said she didn’t really know anything about college, but she figured getting experience as a sophomore would help her.
“As a sophomore, a lot of people don’t start thinking about college. Usual as a junior, you start touring college, so it’s just nice to have the earlier experience of knowing what you are looking for in a college,” Gemberling said. “It was nice to get the experience out of state and see other places.”
Pollard said most students on the trip had never been on a college visit before.
“They have gone from no college visits to 10,” Pollard said.
Tejas Racha, a junior, said he went on the trip to get a “flavor” from colleges located in big cities as opposed to colleges located in smaller towns or in the suburbs.
“I’m the only person in my family that’s studying here in America,” Racha said. “Any other college-related information I get is through family friends who are already in college, and that’s second-hand knowledge, not first-hand.”
Racha said several cousins will be coming to America to attend college soon, and he hopes to be able to help them with college decisions.
“I really liked the free time we got in the college visits because I was able to go ask students how the college really runs on the inside,” Racha said.
Pollard said students left on April 2 and returned to Delaware on April 7. She added they travelled with several other schools but said the students from Hayes were the only students from a public school since most of the other schools were private or boarding schools.
Pollard said she believed the students gained a lot from the trip and hopes to take more students on trips in the future.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.