By Kenny Isufi ‘15
While many students stayed home during spring break, the Hornets spent the weekend with a memorable experience at this years’ college trip to Boston, MA. On April 13-14, the football team embarked on an opportunity to experience college life and learn more about academics, the college process, and athletics. The team visited 4 renowned colleges with athletics at different levels.
“When visiting a college, a person has the benefit to see if they like the atmosphere and what the college has to offer before that person can ask themselves if they can spend the money on applying to that school,” said Nicholas Falzone ‘15.
Visiting colleges before applying to them is an important part of the college process. It allows visitors to actually enter the schools and get a feel for what’s inside and how a person might fit there. A hands on experience allows students to speak with teachers, faculty members, and students
at the school about what the classes are like, how a person spends a typical day in school, and also learn about expenses and how to get in.
The first stop on the Hornets’ trip was the prominent Harvard University in Cambridge. One of the top schools in the nation, Harvard is known for its history of excellence in education and its high academic standards. The team took a tour on campus, visited learning halls, dorm rooms, and the unique Harvard Stadium. Shaped like the Roman Coliseum, the stadium holds over a 100,000 fans and hosts home games for the Football and Lacrosse teams. The school has a well developed athletic center for teams and students, and is the place to be for basketball games in Winter.
“It is an outstanding school and it would be an honor to be a student there,” said Falzone. “It shows the amount of hard work and dedication to be able to attend Harvard with its great reputation of academics.”
The school itself is not just known for its highly gifted students, but the school’s athletics and student athletes as well. The Harvard Crimson play at the Division I level of the NCAA, the highest of collegiate sports. Harvard coaches and trainers met with the team as they explained the schools’ football program, along with championship season history, how the team prepares every Spring for the upcoming season, and the types of things that all college teams do in the off-season. The coaches spoke about workouts, team meetings, practice, and more importantly, keeping up in school.
“It is highly challenging to be a student athlete,” said Ming Kwok ‘16. “It is often hard to balance schoolwork with practice as many sports are highly demanding and require time and commitment. That is why it is important that student athletes should learn how to cope with practice and school work.”
Along with the gained knowledge of how college life differs from what we know right now, the Hornets had the opportunity to experience being in a varsity locker room and coaches’ office. Players and coaches were in awe as they glimpsed the newly renovated room with new couches, TV’s, screening areas, and a great deal of space for each player. The locker room gave a sense of what it feels like on gameday, as coaches and players prepared to face rival teams every season.
“I liked the fact that the locker room was a place where the players could feel at home,” said Amir Shmaib ‘16. “I feel lucky to have the opportunity to get an inside look of what goes on off the football field because there are not many schools out there like it.”
Although the visit to Harvard was a highly memorable one, the team’s college visits were far from over. The next stop was Tufts University, a relatively smaller college just outside of Boston. Its scenic views and hills provide a beautiful landscape for people who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, but also allow short travel time into the urban center. The team had mixed views of the campus but enjoyed a buffet meal as lunchtime arrived and soon afterwards looked in on some of the things that students do on their spring break.
“Personally, the school has great academics although Tufts didn’t seem too appealing as a college choice, said Kwok. “I liked the appealing views of the college and was surprised to learn that loud music and full body paint spraying were only a part of the events going on around the school.”
The Tufts University Jumbos play at the Division III level of college athletics. Although a lower level of collegiate sports, it is still a highly competitive league with school championships in 2013 for Softball and 2011 for Men’s Lacrosse. The school established a new athletic facility just recently with some new additions including extra space, a rock climbing wall, and a film room. The football team’s weight room caught the eyes of many players. The 2 sides of the weight room included Olympic weights and state of the art machines, while the other side was an open space where players utilize the wide area for running and stretching.
“I really liked the amount of effort the school put into its athletic facilities,” said Shmaib. “The rock climbing area was a nice touch and the weight room was appealing.”
The next stop was Springfield College. With about 5,000 students on campus, it was one of the smaller schools visited and gave a feel on how small schools relate to much larger schools elsewhere. One of the powerhouses of the Northeast, Springfield has an outstanding medical program, including physical therapy and Pre-Med studies. The football team competes at one of the highest levels of Division III and the team shows much success every year. The newly renovated gyms and well-kept turf won the hearts of many, although it was the half of it. Along with the school’s well built educational programs, it is one of the few schools that do not require the SAT for admissions and standards could be met by many different people.
“Springfield provides the benefit of an athletic and medical programs and a school that has the standards for many students,” said Kwok. “It shows how there’s more to the college process than just test taking.”
The final school on the college tour was Amherst College. Found in 1821, it is one of the top Liberal Arts colleges in the nation and an exclusive four year undergraduate school. The school provides a rural-like experience with just under 2,000 students on campus. With over 38 programs ranging from medicine to mathematics as well as sports, the tour opened the minds of those who’s paths are unclear about their future careers.
Visiting a college is an essential step to knowing if that school is the best fit for you. A real experience with teachers as well as coaches allows students to get a sense of college life. It is also important to know the difference between a safety school, a college where one is likely to get into, and reach schools, such as Harvard that might require a higher GPA and test grades for qualification. For student athletes, grades are key besides player performance. It determines the difference between receiving an athletic scholarship to play at the next level and not being able to attend because of how that person does in school. Along with research about tuition, financial aid and distance away from home, starting now is key to narrowing down college choices until a student finds the ideal ones to apply for.
“Without grades, an athlete wouldn’t be able to participate in sports or might not even be accepted to go to a college”, said Hasan Farraj ‘15. “It is important to be familiar with colleges through visits as well as keeping up with schoolwork, and it gives an athlete the best possible chance for
success at the next level.”