During spring break, more than 50 College Possible high school students explored their college options by visiting Western Illinois University and Goshen College. WIU, a school of nearly 13,000 students, sits in the heart of Illinois and is a stark contrast from the Indiana based Goshen whose enrollment hovers around 900 students.
“Providing students the opportunity to visit different types of colleges is essential in order for them to find a school where they can be both happy and successful,” said Aileen Aragones, College Possible Program Director.
That Monday morning, 32 students met their College Possible coaches at Union Station and hopped on the Amtrak train to WIU. Twelve of these students were seniors who had already been admitted, and were excited to see the campus firsthand before making their decision.
Throughout the day students toured the campus and received presentations. The evening included dinner in the cafeteria and free time at the recreation center before turning in for the night in a college dorm. This unique visit allowed them to learn more about WIU and experience what it could be like to live on a college campus.
“I would be happy here! I appreciate how much the university values culture,” said one of the accepted seniors. “Everyone was so welcoming and filled with school spirit!”
Two days later, 21 high school juniors boarded a bus to visit Goshen College in Indiana. For some students, it was their first time leaving the state.
“I loved it! Because it’s a small college, I think it would be really easy to meet people and make new friends,” one student said.
The students received a tour which included an opportunity to meet with representatives from dozens of majors to learn about the academic options. “It was great to see students interacting with professors. I could see them getting excited about what classes they could take in college,” said Zoe Call, a College Possible coach.
The highlight of the trip was talking to College Possible student Alyssea, a freshman at Goshen. She spoke with the group about the adjustment to college, how her first year has gone and how her coach has helped her along the way.
“It was cool hearing Alyssea’s story. Knowing she came from Chicago and is happy here, makes me think I could be too,” a junior said.
Overall, it was both a fun and productive spring break for our students. This year College Possible students have had the opportunity to visit nine college campuses. There are many components of a college search that can be done from a computer, but nothing can replace the experience gained by stepping on a campus, “I wasn’t sure I’d like Goshen, a small school in Indiana, but ended up loving it,” a junior said excitedly.
Thank you to WIU and Goshen for hosting our students! We are looking forward to continuing our partnership and creating more college graduates.