College touring: WHS juniors begin the college process


Credit: Courtesy of Ava Balukonis

Many Wayland High School juniors begin the college process by attending college tours. “There are little boxes I like to check at every school,” junior Ava Balukonis said. “I don’t know exactly what those boxes are until I go in person though, since all the schools are a bit different from each other.”

Tina Su

With college applications right around the corner for juniors at Wayland High School, some students have decided to attend college campus tours to get a sense of what they would like in a college.

Over February break, some WHS juniors went on college tours throughout the country, with some even traveling internationally, to visit the schools that may be their home for the next four years. Some students are continuing their college touring processes during April break and intermittently throughout the school year.

Being able to attend college tours over school vacations is helpful for students who want to visit schools farther away in the country or even out of the country.

“I’m glad we have school breaks to tour schools so that I don’t have to worry about missing schoolwork while I’m gone,” junior Lavery Greenfield said. “I’m applying to a couple of schools in Ireland, so if I decide to go and visit those schools, it would be a lot of missed work if we didn’t have break.”

According to Greenfield, touring colleges in-person shows each school in a different, more realistic light, as compared to online seminars and videos.

“I had gone through college websites and attended some online seminars, but it wasn’t the same,” Greenfield said. “Going in-person, seeing the students, seeing the campus and feeling the atmosphere is what told me if I truly liked the school. I ended up not liking several of the schools that I thought I would love.”

Some juniors, like Ava Balukonis, are considering sports along with academics as a part of their touring experiences.

“I visited a bunch of schools over February break, but it was a filtered list,” junior Ava Balukonis said. “I went through them before and picked schools that I was interested in rowing at, and I was able to set up meetings with some of the coaches. Being able to see both the academic and athletic aspects of each school was really cool.”

Although visiting colleges in-person can be exciting for juniors, it can also be stressful for some juniors who feel overwhelmed by the college process.

“I think it was fun to see a potential place I could be spending my next four years at,” junior Sophie Roman said. “But when I got back to school, I felt an increased pressure to do well. I kept thinking about how I loved the school I had just visited and realized that I would have to put in extra effort now in order to get in. It was definitely an added stress.”

The conservations with friends, family members and counselors about college seems never-ending for some students as well.

“Sometimes, it feels like college is all anyone is talking about,” Greenfield said. “When I eat lunch with my friends, they’re talking about college. When I talk to my parents or guidance counselor, they’re reminding me to do stuff for my application.”

To cope with some of this anxiety about college, some juniors decided to tour colleges with friends.

“I am going to tour some schools in Washington with a couple of my close friends,” Roman said. “It should make an otherwise stressful experience a little bit more fun. I’m excited.”

While preparing to apply to college can bring out feelings of stress and fear for some juniors, many students, teachers and professionals believe that touring schools is a step in the right direction for the college process.

“It can be a lot to handle, but I know it’ll be worth it in the end,” Greenfield said. “Every time I feel unmotivated, I think about the end goal, and I tell myself that I just have to trust the process. Touring is just another part of this process.”