Fifty Juniors at Holliston High School split up to visit Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Assumption College with the help of the HHS Guidance Department February 12.
The students also visited Suffolk University February 27. Twenty-five to 30 students signed up to tour Bridgewater State University February 28 but it was cancelled due to snow said guidance department leader Ms. Dominique Ross.
“We are hoping to reschedule although we are not sure if it will be possible between HHS’ schedule and Bridgewater Admissions schedule,” said Ms. Mani Harwich, guidance counselor, in an email.
Junior Puja Gowda said that the tours helped her “see the life of students and just the environment of college in general and what they offer [such as] requirements to get in like GPA, SAT, ACT and just courses that were offered.”
Along with academic requirements, students should also consider the student life aspect of the college experience.
“We need to be looking at schools that we’re interested in applying [to], and it’s good to just know the environment you’re going to be in for the next four years of your life,” said Gowda.
Other students also had positive feedback regarding the field trips according to Ms. Harwich, who initially thought of the idea and presented it to principal Ms. Nicole Bottomley.
The guidance department reached out to students to get their opinion on the idea and “we got good feedback that way,” said Ms. Harwich.
Gowda also heard similar feedback from her peers.
“I think that most people were happy because then they got the opportunity to go, and it wasn’t necessarily over a school vacation. Normally, students have to skip a day of school to go with their parents on a college tour or during vacation weeks,” said Gowda. She added that “it was good to go with the school…because you’re with other students.”
The Guidance Department organized surveys which gave a general description of the colleges without naming the college based on size, scenes such as inner city or suburban, and the majors they offered to help “students think about what their passion is, and what they might want to study or engage in learning after high school and [the students] picked,” said Ms. Harwich.
Gowda chose to visit Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and she said that the tour helped sway her opinion on which type of college she wanted to go to.
“I already knew generally what field I want to go to into. I never cared about the size of the college, but then I went to WPI and I realized I want to go to a bigger school,” said Gowda.
The field trips, with transportation covered by the school, provided students with a detailed tour of the campus, in which they got to see classrooms, dorms, and the gym. The tour guides also explained which majors were offered
and answered any questions the students had.
“As a department, we were looking for a practical experience or a practical approach to the college planning process. So, in order to have kids have the opportunity to not just do stuff on the computer or sit and listen to us talk, we wanted to give them a chance to go interact with an admissions counselor, interact with someone who would give them the tour to help them ask the right questions,” said Ms. Harwich.
The members of the Guidance Department wish to continue these field trips in the future because of the overwhelming support and positive feedback expressed by the students.
Ms. Bottomley asked the counselors what they thought about the field trips because she’s considering making space in the budget for next year and “all four of the counselors here think it was a great opportunity,” according to Ms. Harwich.
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