College campus visits: Juniors and seniors get a new outlook on universities


Juniors listen to a presentation at UT-Austin on the admissions process. Photo by Jenny Phan


UT Visit
Juniors listen to a presentation at UT-Austin on the admissions process. Photo by Jenny Phan

Junior Valeria T., amazed, follows the college tour guide through the door to a newfound knowledge of the college life.

 “It was such a big atmosphere with everyone doing their own thing; it was a bit scary,” she said of her visit to the University of Texas at Austin.

“I like how we were able to see the school campus during the day where all the students were walking around like their usual day.”

This inside look at college was made possible by interventionist Tommy Miller’s effort to arrange college campus visits for all juniors and seniors. In the past, students were encouraged to visit colleges on their own; seniors could excuse two days’ absences, one in the fall and one in the spring, for college visits; but this year, Miller organized trips to Sam Houston State University, Texas A&M at College Station, Texas State University, Lamar University, Texas A&M at Galveston, the University of Texas at Austin, and U of H-Victoria. He had made it an extension of his responsibility to ensure that every student will succeed in school.

Miller feels that students will get a better education about the colleges they are considering and more information if they are able to get a hands-on experience.

“Are you going to learn more about France reading about it on the internet or going to France?” Miller said. “You’re going to learn more about it if you go there.”

Miller applied this belief to organizing the college visits.

“Going to the campus will let you know how close a drive to it is, what living on campus is really like, what the food is like, what the buildings [are] like, how classes are conducted, how registration works,  and where financial aid is,” he  said.

While the students are on the college campuses, they are assigned to a tour guide who takes them around the campus to observe the different aspects of the college life. They are also provided an opportunity to have their college-related questions answered. When the tour ends, the students will be given the chance to shop at the college book store.

The trips give student an eye-opening experience of how a regular college campus operates on a daily basis while having an enjoyable time.

“I enjoyed the people that were helping us look around the campus. They were really nice, friendly, and informative,” senior Nadia O. said, “and most of all, they were students so we could ask them personal questions that we could relate to ourselves.”

For Valeria, the trip reinforced her decisions about college.

“I felt like I made the right decision about the school I want to go to.”