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Juniors tour east coast universities on annual week-long excursion

24 Feb 2017

Reprinted with permission from Angela Reno Valvardi: Fifty-two juniors visit the University of Pennsylvania, one of the 17 schools the group toured on the east coast.

Reprinted with permission from Angela Reno Valvardi: Fifty-two juniors visit the University of Pennsylvania, one of the 17 schools the group toured on the east coast.

By Ryan Adami

The East Coast College Tour, a Loyola tradition for over 35 years, took place during the semester break from Jan. 28-Feb. 4. Led by English teacher Terry Caldwell and counselor Jesse Rueter, 52 juniors visited 17 colleges in the East Coast.

The juniors visited the United States Naval Academy; Georgetown University; George Washington University; the University of Maryland; Johns Hopkins University; University of Pennsylvania; Villanova University; Lehigh University; Fordham University; Columbia University; Harvard College; Yale University; Trinity College; the College of Holy Cross; M.I.T.; Boston University; and Boston College.

Caldwell said, “I very carefully plan out and organize every single college we visit based on the student’s likes and dislikes and what the students are interested in based upon visiting with the counseling department to know where the students are applying to.”

Juniors met with Loyola alumni at most of the

schools they visited. The Loyola alumni led the juniors on tours, conducted panel discussions, spoke to them about their respective college and answered questions. The alumni told them helpful information about the transition from Southern California to the frigid east coast and the transition from Loyola to a university.  Students also met with admissions representatives to learn about each school’s application process and varying requirements.

Caldwell said, “Students get a really well-rounded view of the colleges they visit through what the colleges say, what the Loyola Cubs say, and it really gives them a feel of is this place right for me or not.”

For Counselor Jesse Reuter, the trip also exposes students to east coast weather. “Growing up in California, you don’t get to experience winter which is why we purposefully go during the winter so that you are able to experience a little bit of weather what it’s like on a normal day in the winter,” said Reuter.

Junior David McAndrews said, “Hearing personal anecdotes from Loyola alumni was very valuable in determining my fit for each college. They were available for questions and tours at almost every college that we visited. I think this goes to show the validity of ‘Cubs for Life.’”

During the tours students were required to take notes and create a rough outline for each school, which helped them learn what schools they were interested in. The students also ate lunch at some universities such as Georgetown to grasp a better understanding of what it feels like to live on a college campus.

The East Coast College Tour not only gave the juniors new insights about the colleges themselves but also about what it’s like living across the country. When not visiting colleges, the juniors explored Washington, D.C., as they visited the Smithsonian Institution and saw the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and other sites. In New York, the group visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum, explored Times Square and saw a performance of Aladdin on Broadway.

Rueter said, “The juniors being so far away, taking the long flight, experiencing weather and the East Coast, getting to hear from other Loyola alumni who have gone to those schools, and getting their perspectives definitely gives you a sense of living on the East Coast and attending those colleges.”

Overall, the general consensus among the juniors attending was that the tour helped them become better informed about the college application process and the colleges they want to attend.

McAndrews said, “The East Coast College Tour is definitely one of my favorite Loyola experiences thus far. The tour is well structured, and I would not change a single thing about it.”

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