This is the time of year when high school students have to determine where they will go to college in the fall. Many revisit campuses, review the programs and just kick the proverbial tires.
Nearly 90 students visited Union College on Friday for the first of its Admitted Student Days. The college has offered admission to a little more than 2,000 after receiving a record 5,717 applications. The expected class size will be about 570 students, according to college officials.
Director of Admissions Ann Fleming Brown said high school students today are applying to as many as 15 colleges, which makes these post-acceptance tours even more important.
“They come back and take a second look and see if the match is good,” she said.
Among the most important concerns for students, according to Brown, is whether the college has good programs in their intended major, whether they feel comfortable on campus and whether it offers a variety of activities. Affordability is the main concern of parents, she said.
On Friday, students got to visit classrooms, check out dorm rooms, the cafeteria, student center and other places on campus during tours throughout the day.
Tour guide Lacey Reimer spoke in a rapid-fire pace about the campus amenities and activities, rarely pausing to catch her breath except to say, “Does anybody have any questions?”
Reimer, a sophomore political science major from Long Island, said she wanted to be a tour guide because she really loves the college and wanted to share that with others.
“I want to kind of have a direct impact on people who could come here,” she said.
Parents and students seemed to enjoy the tour and felt it informative.
“I think it’s cool that we got to see a bunch of things we didn’t get to see in the regular tour,” said 17-year-old Cole Valentino of Long Island.
He liked learning about the trimester schedule, which is something that sets Union apart. Reimer explained that students can study abroad during the 10-week trimester, which offers the chance to explore a new country but not be gone so long that they get homesick.
Dan Butler of Adams, Mass., said he liked that the tour guide stressed the interaction between faculty and students. Reimer said she has been in classes in which the professor had dinner with students and that faculty participate in lectures and discussions with students in the Minerva theme houses. Butler has to make a decision by May 1.
After the tours, students attended a luncheon, then heard from college President Stephen C. Ainlay. In the afternoon, students could check out the different academic departments for the subjects that interest them.
Later, they got to review information about careers, international programs, student activities, spiritual programs and financial aid.
Prospective student Dan Kearing of Longmeadow, Mass., said he was looking forward to seeing the engineering classrooms as part of the afternoon tour.
He applied to at least 10 different colleges and universities.
“Thank God for the Common Application,” said his father, David Kearing, referring to the form that can be accepted at multiple schools.
The tours are very important for students. Daughter Kiraleah, 17, said picking the right college comes from feeling happy and comfortable when she sets foot on campus.
“Financial aid,” her mother, Susan Fendell, quickly chimed in.
Seventeen-year-old Ariel Gershon of Stamford, Conn., said the campus environment is important to her. “I wanted a small school with a tight-knit student body,” she said.