For our students and program staff, campus tour days in June and July began by arriving at Champions For Learning before the sun was even up. Each trip hosted more than 40 Champions For Learning high school students who would board a charter bus to embark on an exciting, jam-packed day exploring one, or sometimes two, college universities here in Florida.
The bus rides to the universities were a little quiet. As you might expect, teenagers are not the most talkative or energetic when they wake up this early. However, that all changes when the bus arrives on campus. This year, Champions For Learning took students to tour Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Florida Polytechnic University, University of Central Florida, University of Florida and University of South Florida.
Once on campus, Champions For Learning students start the guided tour portion of the visit. Our students gain firsthand views of each campus and the surrounding community. They have opportunities to visit academic buildings, sit in on classes, and speak face-to-face with current college students, faculty, and staff.
“I think it was an amazing experience. The campus was really big and there were a lot of majors to explore,” said Uriel S., a Champions For Learning student who visited University of Central Florida for the first time. “I saw that Orlando is an amazing place to live and the lifestyle. I really enjoyed being there.”
Part of the campus experience is having our students eat lunch in the dining hall and trying the meals they would be eating if they attended that school. After lunch, the tour of the campus continues with one last stop at the bookstore for some campus merchandise, that is, if time allows.
Once back on the bus, either headed back to Naples or to a second university to tour, the games begin! Champions For Learning’s two Bank of America Student Leader interns took the time to make trivia games that correlate to the day’s campus tour. Consisting of five questions and a bonus question, students must answer trivia questions, such as the name of a statue or building they saw during the tour. The person with the most correct answers in the shortest amount of time then wins a piece of merchandise from that college campus.
Many of our students have never visited a college campus, and brochures, catalogues, and websites do not offer a comprehensive picture of the college experience. Their parents often work full-time and cannot afford to take off work to visit a college campus hours away. Others simply cannot afford to make the long drive. It is because of these reasons and more that Champions For Learning provides college campus tours.
Campus visits are an essential step in the college search process. By providing this opportunity, Champions For Learning is empowering students to dream big and work towards realizing their post-secondary goals.