Annual Junior College Trip

Bella Feldman, Editor

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A college trip is a tradition at Columbia Secondary School but it has changed drastically every year, for better or for worse.

In 2017, the trip was two days, six colleges, and one big hotel booking. According to counselor Kiri Patel, there was a lot of complaints regarding the number of people being forced to tour colleges that did not align with their interests. Also, there were some problems with the hotel and rowdy kids at night not doing what they were supposed to. CSS was subsequently banned from that hotel and all of these factors combined lead to a completely restructured college trip for the next year.

The class of 2019 were informed that their trip would be split into three and each would be completely different. People could choose to tour colleges that reflected not only their potential majors but also their grades. Also, each person would only see two colleges instead of six and there would be no overnight stay. While bitter about missing out on a hotel stay, the juniors were also excited about the idea of picking their own trip.

After choosing an option, most people found out they did not get the one they requested. It did not take long for people to figure out what happened. The three trips very closely correlated with different GPA levels and students were ushered onto the trip that their scores matched with in terms of the schools’ averages. The juniors with the highest GPAs went to see Lafayette and Muhlenberg College, both private, liberal arts schools. Those with standard GPAs toured SUNY Albany and Siena College. Lastly, the juniors with the lowest GPAs visited Manhattanville College and Dutchess Community College.

It was upsetting to see a kid with dreams of seeing Lafayette forced to go on a trip they did not want to. While it is important for everyone to be realistic about their options, it made the future seem so set in stone for students that had a bigger dream.

This problem could have been easily circumvented by hiring the bus services after people had chosen their trip. Since the buses were already rented before people put in their choice, the school’s priority was to fill up the seats first. Students were under the assumption that each trip was going to have an unequal number of students as students selected which colleges they wanted to visit. It’s obvious that the high-ranked colleges were a popular preference amongst the juniors. Yet, this wasn’t the case.

It is understandable that there is a limit to funds and manpower for a big event like this for the school, but it seemed disheartening for students to have little to no choice over what colleges they see. This college trip could have been improved by allowing the kids to vote on where they would like to visit in the general area and having the school administration accommodate these selections with reasonable discretion.

Hopefully next year there will be a better system for setting up the college trip for the class of 2020. Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions adolescents need to make, so the school should aid that as much as they can.

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