Overnight College Tour 2016

From April 26 through 27, we took our mentees on our first overnight college tour through schools in Pennsylvania. Special thanks to staffer Jessica for applying for the grant and taking the mentees on her own! Read on below for a recap from one of the mentees who went on the trip.

I came in this college tour knowing pretty much nothing about what I wanted to do in life and how college works. I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to do in the future, but I didn’t take it seriously because I didn’t know what colleges could help me out with my future career; I didn’t really know what other options I had. So when I heard Apex was giving an opportunity to 10 mentees to sign up for an Apex overnight college tour to five schools in Pennsylvania, I instantly signed up. The night before I started thinking about questions for the college tour, and I started to get nervous thinking I was the only kid out of the 10 mentees who had no idea what he wanted to do in life.

The first college we went to see was the University of Pennsylvania: It is a great school, somewhere I would consider attending. The campus is huge and beautiful, something that I realize I look for when checking out colleges. They also had a large selection of majors that you could choose from. Something I really liked was the community aspect of the school: Every student was willing to help each other. At the end of the tour, we met a group of Penn students in a room and asked questions about their college experience, which was really helpful. The next college we went to was Temple University, which is also a great school but probably not what I am looking for. One of the major reasons why I didn’t like it was because it was in the middle of the city. But if you like the city, Temple University could be a great school for you.

After two college tours, everyone was exhausted and hungry so we went to eat lunch and then checked in to our hotel. We relaxed a little bit in the hotel, and then we went to explore Philadelphia. I was exhausted and didn’t want to go at first, but most of the group wanted to explore, which ended up being nice. After an hour of walking around, we went back to the hotel. Everybody shared a room–I was with two other male mentees. I slept on the small couch while the others guys slept on the beds.

The next day was a lot easier because we took a bus for the remainder of the college tours so we didn’t have to take train rides to each school. The third college we went to see was Haverford College, which was very different from the first two colleges we saw. It didn’t have as many students walking around the school, like Penn and Temple. But we found out that the school has a generous financial aid policy to help students. We also met up with former Apex mentee, Shu, who gave us a tour around the college. Shu showed us her dorm, and while walking around the college it seemed she knew everybody–or that everyone knew each other.

The fourth college we went to see was Bryn Mawr college, an all girl school so I wouldn’t be able to attend. But the campus was very nice–something I would recommend to a girl. I also liked that the school had small classes so you could really get to know the teachers and make new friends.

The last college we went to was Swarthmore College. Finally we were done with the college tour and took a bus back to New York.

One of my favorite parts of this college tour trip was the overnight stay at the hotel because I had lots of fun with the other mentees and really got to know them. Another one of my favorite parts of this trip was seeing the college life of a college student and getting my questions answered. One of my greatest takeaways of this tour was that I felt more confident in myself in becoming what I want to be, which is a therapist. If Apex invites mentees for a college tour trip again, I would definitely go again and recommend it to other mentees.

-Mike, Apex mentee