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College Tour attendance dips for 2010

FALL OFF: College Tour participation was at its lowest level in four years among sophomores in 2010, due in part to the current economic climate. Graphic by Ileana '11

The lowest percentage of sophomores in at least four years participated in this year’s college tour. The drop was due at least in part to budget considerations, according to students and Michael Heeter, co-director of college counseling.

Out of a class of 86 students, only 66 attended. Heeter said, however, that the decrease in college tour attendees was not a trend: in 2009, 79 out of 89 students attended; in 2008, 75 out of 92 students attended; in 2007, 82 out of 101.

It was only this year that the recession in the economy deterred a large number of students from the tour, which costs $2,000.

“The cost is expensive and although we give financial aid, there are families [for which] it was an expense that was a luxury this year,” Heeter said.

Heeter also said that some families who don’t get aid didn’t want to spend the money on the tour.

Jenny ’12 said that both finances and her interest level were factors that went into her decision to visit the colleges with her family rather than with Marlborough.

“I didn’t really want to go, but my dad really wanted me to go. However, finances were the main issue,” Jenny said.

Devon ’12 also opted to visit the colleges with her family instead.

“It was too expensive, and I didn’t really care for it,” Devon said.

Heeter said the objective of the college tour is to give the students a wider perspective of the options around them, not for the girls to find the college they want to attend. The intention is to get the students thinking about size and setting, liberal arts versus research universities, and differences in character.

“I believe that the intention is to open up the girls’ eyes, [including] options for girls who don’t aspire to go to places like Penn or Columbia,” Heeter said. “It is a nice bonding experience.”

Many students said the trip was worthwhile. Ariana ’12 said it was a great experience and that she learned more about what she wants in a college.

“It gave me a really good idea of what kind of things I like,” Ariana said.

However, Ariana also said, “I almost wish we could have seen more because we had so much free time.”

Even though the college counseling office tried to include a wide variety of colleges, some students like Audrey ’12 thought that the tour consisted of too many Ivy League schools and that the tour was pricey considering the students were mostly responsible for buying their own meals.

“It was motivational, but it kind of sucked knowing there were a lot of schools I can’t get into,” Audrey said.