On June 10-11th 40 students from Red Bluff and Corning High Schools participated in the College OPTIONS 2014 College Campus Tour. This was a two-day, overnight event that included visits to the University of Santa Clara, UC Santa Cruz, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, CSU Monterey Bay, Asilomar State Beach, and UC Davis. The trip was provided free of charge to all participants, including lodging and meals. The goal of the event is to allow students to visit campuses that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to see and to teach them to ask important questions of potential colleges regarding retention rates, graduation rates, and accessibility of professors.
At Santa Clara University students had the opportunity to select from a tour provided by the engineering department or a business focused tour provided by recent Red Bluff High graduate Alana Hinkston. The students were impressed by the beautiful buildings and landscaping and learned that not all private universities require students to practice a certain religion. Although Santa Clara is a Jesuit university, students are not required to belong to that faith in order to attend.
The next stop on the trip was UC Santa Cruz. While sitting on a hill overlooking the ocean the field trip participants attended a student panel, which included the opportunity to ask questions of current UCSC students. Many of the questions asked by the students focused on life in the dorms, what itâ€™s like to live away from your family, and what there was to eat. Following the student panel students went on a tour of the campus. The tour was more of a â€œhikeâ€ which crisscrossed the campus on dirt paved paths lined with redwood trees. â€œSome students loved the campus, while others were not so impressed, and that is exactly why we do these tripsâ€, says Lauren Tingley an advisor with College OPTIONS. â€œA student may have signed up for the trip thinking they wanted to attend UC Santa Cruz, but after they visit they realize it wasnâ€™t what they thought it would, and for others the exact opposite was trueâ€.
The next morning the students went on a historical and ecological tour of the Asilomar State Beach and Conference Center, which was started by the YWCA in 1913 as an educational and training facility for women. After knocking the sand out of their shoes the tour headed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where they were able to see displays of jellyfish, sea otters, and octopi. The students had a great time with the hands on exhibits and were able to touch some of the marine life in the interactive exhibits. The students also completed a career scavenger hunt which allowed them to learn about the various careers available within the aquarium including everything from accountant to zoologist.
The afternoon was spent visiting CSU Monterey Bay, which opened in 1995 on the site of the former Army base, Fort Ord. Students were able to see both the older and the more updated parts of campus, learn about the various majors offered, and talk to current CSUMB students before hitting the road to head toward UC Davis. At UC Davis students were able to eat dinner in the Coffee House followed by a walk through the quad area.
Returning to Tehama County at 9pm, students were exhausted yet excited to share their experiences with friends and family. This opportunity had allowed them to learn more about the process of going to college, but also more about themselves and to begin to solidify their goals for the future. The hope is that they can share their new found knowledge and insight with their peers and create a network on information and support within our local community.