Summer Review: JKCF Young Scholars On College Tour
This is the final blog in our three-part Summer Review series. Hear from a Foundation educational adviser about an east coast college tour that brought scholars to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.
Thirty-three rising seniors from the Young Scholars Program embarked on a four-day, three-city, seven-college tour in which they visited Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania in the Philadelphia region, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland-College Park in the Baltimore region, and American University, George Washington University, and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
The experience was not just designed to expose them to these schools, but also to encourage them to consider different types of schools during the college search process.
Throughout the trip, while experiencing the small liberal arts feel of Swarthmore and American, the midsize private school character of Hopkins and Georgetown, the large public school atmosphere of the University of Maryland, and the school-within-a-city impression of UPenn and GW, the Young Scholars worked on their college lists by considering the multiple factors of what makes a “good fit” for them.
“I was pleasantly surprised to find that some of my own college search criteria changed throughout the tour as a result of having experienced a variety of different campuses,” commented Young Scholar Min Zhong. “It was great to be able to bond with fellow scholars from my cohort (as well as celebrate the many birthdays and anniversaries that just happened to coincide with the tour) and exchange thoughts about the colleges and the admission process.”
At each college they visited, Young Scholars evaluated the institution based on factors such as the school’s size and average student to faculty ratio, the culture and traditions of its student body, whether a school has a core curriculum requirement, and the many other important characteristics they needed to consider when assessing whether or not a school is a good fit. Scholars also asked great questions of their tour guides and admissions officials in order to learn more about what made each school distinct from others. These ranged from the specific majors offered at each campus to the different internships and unique research opportunities available to each school’s students to everything in between.
And even if scholars weren’t interested in a specific school, or if they decide not to apply to any of the seven schools they visited, being able to compare and contrast these to other schools on their lists was an invaluable experience. The trip also allows these students to share information about these schools with other Young Scholars who were unable to come on the tour and with classmates at their respective schools back home who might also be interested in the schools we visited.
In addition to these colleges, Young Scholars also had some time to explore the cities that they visited. In Philadelphia they took the opportunity to see the Franklin Institute and to tour the city in order to learn about its rich history and architecture. In Baltimore, scholars explored the famed Inner Harbor and had the opportunity to ride in a speed boat, a first for many of them. In Washington, D.C., scholars visited several monuments and museums in the nation’s capital.
Young Scholar Katie Taylor commented that “the tour honestly helped me to really figure out what I did and didn’t want in a college.” It also seemed to improve her confidence in the college process, as she went on to remark that the experience encouraged her to believe that “I got this, and I am closer than ever in knowing what I want!”