College visits: Are students abusing the privilege?

Sierra Byrne and Claudia Millwater

The following schools will be visiting WHS today: Marist College, The University of Scranton, Saint Joseph’s University, University of Hartford, Bates College, Elon University, Purdue University and the College of the Holy Cross. If you’re truly interested in learning about the college, you can sign on to Naviance and register for the meeting.

Throughout the fall, there is constant chatter as Juniors and Seniors talk about the visits they plan on attending. Within one school day, there are between six to eight college representatives, or reps, that come to discuss what students would hear on an official campus visit without having to travel to the school itself.

In most cases, these college reps are a part of the admissions office, so the reps that visit WHS are most likely the ones reading your application and deciding who to admit. These 43-minute presentations discuss everything about the school, including its acceptance rate, average GPA, financial aid, average test scores, athletics, scholarships, majors/minors and more.

WHS Counselor Cristine Hough said, “I think [these meetings] are beneficial because it is a different experience than going to a school itself. When students go on college visits [at the college] they are not always meeting with the rep who is reviewing their application.”

During a college visit, reps share why their schools stand out compared to many other universities. Reps strongly believe that it is in the students’ best interest to come to these meetings  if they are unable to visit the school itself.

Students have the opportunity to attend meetings and ask any questions they may have about the school. These reps are eager to assist students in the best possible way to relieve the stress of  the application process.

WHS is one of many high schools that has the opportunity for college reps to visit, yet questions are arising as to whether WHS students are taking advantage of these meetings in the right ways.

It seems some students are considering missing a class because they do not feel like taking a test or writing an essay.

One anonymous senior said, “I have skipped class and sat in the foyer because I was not prepared for a test I had to take. I did not feel like I was being rebellious in any way because many people do it, so it felt normal.”

Any student is able to attend these meetings whether signed up through Naviance or not. At the beginning of each meeting, attendance sheets are given out with the names of students who are registered. However, students who didn’t officially sign up via Naviance can still write their name on the attendance sheet so they do not receive a class cut.   

The decisions students make about these visitis do not go unnoticed by teachers. Specifically, WHS Math Teacher Scott Rutherford discussed his opinions on the college meetings that take place throughout the school day: “I think it’s about being responsible,” said Rutherford. “If you’re going to sign up for [a meeting], you’re making that decision ahead of time and scheduling to be there.” Teachers expect that students are making appropriate choices.

Many students are willing to miss important classes to attend these meetings because they are sincerely interested in a particular college or university. But, it seems that these students are often outnumbered by others who are there simply because they do not wish to attend classes.

During these visits, people do not take it seriously,” said an anonymous senior. “They take advantage of missing a class. I think [these students] are irresponsible for ditching. For the people who take school and their future seriously, they should be able to go to these meetings…but there should be another requirement for it so not everyone can go.”

Today with eight colleges coming to WHS for these meetings, a student could conceivably miss a whole day of classes, if so inclined. While these college visits are beneficial when attended for the right reasons, some students are abusing the privelege knowing that there are no consequences for attending countless meetings simply to get out of class.