Tuesday, July 11, 2017

ATS Students Head East, Part 2!

This reflection is shared by Martin Flores, a student at Rancho Cotate High School.

Can you think of a better way to begin the summer before your senior year than going to tour Harvard, NYU, Boston College, and Columbia University?  Did not think so.

Before I continue, I would like to give a huge thank you to the chaperones, thank you to all the people who made this possible, and thank you to everyone who participated on this journey.
Over my course as a student I have been on many great trips but, nothing like this one. It was a week long trek that took 12 students, all with the same goal of going to college, to the other side of the country to tour some of the most prestigious universities in the world. Personally, this trip was an eye-opener because I never really believed that I could see myself living or studying in any place other than California. However, this trip has completely changed my mind. Not only was this trip a great educational experience but it exposed the majority of us to the different cultures that exist within the US.

Upon hearing about an opportunity to tour these universities, I was interested to see what other out-of-state opportunities there was because of how much I enjoyed Spring Tours to Oregon. However, I did not think I was going to get picked. I did not apply because of the fact that we were going to go to NYC or Boston. For me it was the fact that I could have the opportunity to tour the university that I dream to go to and the one that I have been talking to their soccer coach for the last year. That university was Harvard.

Touring Harvard was the highlight of the trip. It was a fantastic experience because I was able to get a first-hand account of the campus community and really consider if I could see myself attending the university. I learned not only about some of the academics that come along with Harvard but, I learned about the different financial aid opportunities for low income families. Furthermore, I tried to arrange a meeting with their soccer coach but, unfortunately, he was not in town. Beside that minor setback, Harvard is definitely a university where I can see myself continuing my education. For that I thank ATS and EduTrips for giving me this opportunity that very few get.

Aside from touring college campuses and exploring Boston and New York City, I was fortunate enough to meet some incredible people. At first, it was awkward because no one really wanted to take a risk and meet new people. However, after introductions we all began to mesh into one big group and talk to each other. Also, because of this trip I was able to make some amazing friends from all over Northern California and some great memories. Lastly, I can say that spending everyday with our chaperones and new friends was definitely a highlight. 

Furthermore, I believe this trip really influenced me in being wise about where to apply and what I like about a college and what not. Also, the current college students' input on the academics, college community, and city was very helpful for me considering a college or not. I think that our student tour guides really helped me get a feel for the college life at their college. Some of our tour guides on the college tours were from small towns, like most of us are, so to hear how it was for them really helped me.

In conclusion, this trip was a once in a lifetime experience. From those six days I will remember the countless laughs, memories, friends, and valuable college information. Once again, a huge thank you to our amazing advisors/ chaperones Casey Herriott, Moises Gonzalez, Jose Arroyo, the whole ATS staff, and anyone that I forgot to mention for a memorable college and cultural experience.