Initiated in 2013, the college road trip for juniors and seniors is always a big hit, but since 2018 the trip was set aside, until now. Director of Academic and College Counseling Mr. Jesse Struck has returned to EC and is glad to give students the opportunity once more saying, “[The trip] was so positive and fun, students look forward to it every year.”
Viewing four colleges over the course of four days, the group of 12 visited Cairn University, Liberty University, University of Richmond, and Gettysburg College. The ride to each campus was taken care of by renting two minivans. Ms. Kerlen drove one, and Mr. Struck drove the other with six students in each. Mr. Struck says he’s always wanted a minivan and “loved it”, adding, “I’m a huge minivan fan.”
Each day was a little different, but always had two common themes, he says, “a little bit of driving, and a chunk of time on campus… some days we were in the car three to five hours, sometimes just two hours.”
At the college itself, the students gained information at the admissions office, were given a campus tour, and were given the chance to eat in one of the dining halls, as well as connect with any EC alumni located there.
Outside of their time on campus they would go out and explore the area. The weather was good, as the group went farther south rather than north.
Struck’s overall impression of the trip was as follows: “I think it was awesome; I’m super pleased. The students who came on the trip had a great time and learned a lot about their own college preferences. The goal of the trip was to provide exposure to different kinds of colleges, small or large, Christian and non-Christian, and a better sense of what each place feels like.” He went on to say that these goals were accomplished during the trip, and that it was really fun and valuable.
When asked why students should come on this trip, Mr. Struck gives his perspective; “It is the most fun and cost effective way to visit this many schools. The total fee is $350, which covers food, accommodations overnight, transportation, and four college campuses… and it’s cheaper than traveling with family. If you are a junior, this gives you a head start in understanding the type of college that is the right fit for you. Start to learn what you might prefer early in your college planning process, this helps make decisions easier moving forward having visited a few colleges.”
Junior Timothy LaBianca had no expectations for the trip, “I didn't give it too much thought; I was going to see what I liked or disliked.”
Afterwards he gained a better idea of what he wanted and learned some important information, such as student to teacher ratios, size of different schools, and majors that were offered. Overall Tim recommends the trip for those who want to learn more about college. “Everyone should go at least once to understand colleges better…it's really a lot of fun.”
His advice about college is not to wait (to apply) and not to worry. “Wherever you end up is because God wanted you there.”
Senior Katherine Marshall also went on the trip, but had some expectations in mind such as, “to have a good time and learn more about what I like and don't like about campuses.” Her expectations matched reality as she “had a blast on the trip,” and found what she is looking for in a college. Katherine also learned that she likes big campuses better, adding, “cafeteria food can be really good if you go to the right campus.”
This trip prepares her for college because it “helps get a sense of what it would be like walking on different campuses and going to class.”
When asked why people should go on this trip, Katherine says “It is a great way to learn quickly about colleges and to be able to compare and get a sense of what you want and do not want in a college.” Following this she says that walking through the Richmond campus was really beautiful.
Her final advice for people looking at colleges is to create a list of what you want and don't want in a college, (such as size, religion, proximity, price, athletics, and other) because it, “really helps narrow down where you can actually see yourself.”