Stepping Up for Success: College Field Trips at EHHS

Over the 2021-2022 school year, there were college field trips for Junior students to attend sponsored by the EHHS Guidance Department. These field trips were held with the help of Mr. Austin Telford, a college advisor from UCONN who came to work with students at EHHS. The college field trips are being organized to help the Junior class better prepare themselves for their plans to go to college.

The most recent field trip was the Connecticut Central State University in New Britain, Connecticut. EHHS Junior, Saida Pabon, describes her experience as “fun and informative”. During her tour she learned new concepts to look at when she attends other college trips. Saida describes her experience as an “entertaining and educational field trip where she got the feeling of what the campus at CCSU feels like”. One of the interesting things that she gathered from the field trip is, "CCSU offers many clubs and if I want to make one I can, I just need 25 signatures or more". The field trip also made her have an open mind as to the ideas of new campuses, colleges, and career opportunities she would like to consider to make her final decision during senior year. Another insightful topic she learned from the tour was, "If you don't like your current major you are taking then, you can always switch it. Additionally, if you are undecided there is this program at CCSU where professors would help you find the right career path." Although Saida is still searching for the right college, she hopes that these field trips continue at EHHS so that it makes it easier for students to have more options to choose from.

Junior Nazli Kir also attended the college field trip for CCSU; this was her first college trip. Nazli wants to go to college to become a Radiology Technician, although CCSU doesn't offer that specific major. It was still nice to learn about a college campus and for her to find specific preferences to fit her vision of the college experience. She benefited from attending this college field trip since, "I got to see what a real college campus looks like, the sizes of the dorms, the different types of clubs that they offer at CCSU, and the many courses that they have." Although she is not planning to attend CCSU, she liked that EHHS is now doing field trips to help students narrow down their college choices. Junior Diya Patel also learned useful information while attending the CCSU field trip. Diya has experienced what college would look like with her receiving a guided tour from CCSU Students. During her visit, she got to see the campus, the parking lot, dorm rooms, and basketball court. Diya noticed that college and high school campuses are completely different from one another in many aspects. What she gathered from this experience is: “[I learned] that college can be stressful but with the right people and resources provided by the college it can be fun and a new step to adulthood.” She liked that EHHS provides these field trips since it helps her compare the different sections that each college visit provides for her major and herself.

The organization of the college field trips is done by Mr. Austin Telford who is employed by UCONN as a college advisor. He is in charge of all the planning that goes into each college field trip. During his planning, he has to gather the following: "Permission slips, I have to book a date with the school and go through how many people can attend, figure out transportation for the students. If we are running transportation I have to book the buses and send an invoice for the fee. I need to get approved by the board, organize lunches, and get the students on the field trip.” Mr. Telford organizes these types of field trips so that students at EHHS are prepared for college and to help them find the right college for them. His hopes for the three college field trips that he has done are: “[I hope that] They end up finding out what they want from college. If they want to go for 4 years, small, big, small, medium, if it's a party school or not a party school, their surroundings, etc. I hope they figure out the things that they would like to see and attend .” His major advice for upcoming Seniors is to “Pass their classes and do some research. You should be doing some searching and finding schools that fit into your major. Find all the elements that make this college the one you want to attend. Explore universities, they should be researching to know and learn what they want from the school they will be attending.” He is planning more college field trips in the future and wants to do one for UCONN and one for students to visit 3 different colleges in 1 day to have a better comparison.

The principal at EHHS, Mr. Vincent DeNuzzo, doesn't have a specific role in these college field trips, he just approves them for Mr. Telford. Mr. DeNuzzo's advice for Juniors this year is to, “[By the fall] Know which schools you want to apply to, narrow it down. Apply to as many schools as possible, get creative meaning most schools would offer you a fee waiver if you simply call and ask. Take the SAT again, you can take it again in June, August, or September. Get started now on the college essay that you will have to write for your application. Make sure you have all your high school requirements out of the way for high school." He strongly suggests making appointments with the Guidance Department in order to have all the courses for Senior year’s requirements and to have all of the high school requirements completed such as a Capstone project, community service hours (20hrs), and class dues. The advice he shares with students who are still undecided about their career path recommends taking electives to get exposed to other subjects apart from the core classes being taken.

Martha Sandoval, a previous EHHS student who already graduated from EHHS, wishes that these field trips were conducted when she attended EHHS. She expresses that the college field trips would have helped her in choosing a college to attend because she would have gathered more information on the aspect of finding the right campus, major, and college lifestyle. Martha states the following in regards to these changes “ I graduated from EHHS, in 2021 and if these field trips were introduced to us during my Junior or Senior year I believe they would have helped me and made my process easier in the long run". Martha believes that if she had that opportunity now she would have taken as many college field trips since this would help her with finding a college that has her major and a campus that she likes. Although she didn't have the college field trips when she attended EHHS she likes the idea of EHHS now having this opportunity that benefits them in so many ways.

With it almost being the end of the 2021-2022 school year at EHHS, The Comet wishes all seniors good luck on their next journey and Juniors a good and memorable senior year. Mr. DeNuzzo and Mr. Telford wish to multiple more college fields in the future to help better prepare EHHS students for college.