Guest Post by Matt Herman and Justin Baker: The college search process is an exciting journey. College campuses are vibrant places where interesting scholars are busy doing important and fascinating work. To visit these places is to imagine oneself in the future, as “studying this” and “doing that” in a specific place and time. This act of imagination is buttressed by time for honest self-reflection. Beyond all else, this journey allows students to consider big and abstract questions: Who am I? What do I want to study? Where do I want to be? Who do I want to become?
Just a few days after the end of the school year, Gilman college counselors accompanied 30 rising juniors and seniors on a tour of seven New England colleges.
The mission of this tour was to help rising juniors and seniors navigate the college search process as they start to make distinctions between their educational preferences and different types of schools. This began, before the visit, with an assessment of individual preference as well as research. Before students boarded the bus, they learned how to effectively research schools online. They learned to identify how a school’s mission, culture, community, course curriculum, extracurricular life, and graduate outcomes fit with their burgeoning preferences.
The tour included a variety of schools to allow boys to consider schools that are:
- Large; midsize; small
- Urban; suburban; rural
- Most competitive, highly competitive plus, highly competitive
- Undergraduate college; universities
- Research; liberal arts
- Secular; nonsecular
While in Boston, the boys were joined for lunch at Cityside with Gilman alumni Bryce Donohue ‘04 (Boston College) and Vince Tuohey ’97 (Harvard).
An added bonus for students was the bonding that took place on the bus and during free time. “I interacted with different people than I normally would at school and made some new friends,” said one participant.
After a whirlwind tour of Yale, Quinnipiac, Boston College, Harvard, Tufts, Wesleyan, and Trinity College, the group returned to Baltimore to continue their journey. Reflecting on the trip, one student said, “Touring colleges made me excited to go and start looking at other colleges.”