Senior, Justin Collins and seven of his classmates had the opportunity to attend a weekend trip to the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State University hosted by West Catholic Prep’s Guidance Department. Students traveled by van and the visits were overseen by school chaperones.
“This was my first time in Pittsburgh and it was very cold. It’s different from Philadelphia, but in a lot of ways reminded me of home.” says Justin. “I want to attend a school out of town after graduation, so I thought it meant that I needed to be out of state, or halfway across the country. Attending these tours opened me up to other colleges that I wouldn’t have known as much about.”
Before attending the trip, Justin had reservations of even applying to Pitt because he was concerned he wouldn’t be accepted. However, according to Justin his opportunity to speak with a Pitt student helped ease those doubts “Our tour guide who was a current Pitt student that had those same concerns before she applied, and she encouraged me to apply. After that conversation, I decided that I was going to apply to Pitt.”
The college process has become increasingly difficult to navigate, especially for students who might be the first in their family to attend college. In order for West Catholic to provide a well-rounded education, the resources it provides its student must come from inside and outside of the classroom. The schools Guidance Department works hard to ensure students have options that fit their desires, while also fitting the academic background.
According to Mrs. Teresa McGill, West Catholic Prep’s Director of Guidance, trips like this one provide postsecondary opportunities beyond their sphere of knowledge and helps to reduce college access barriers for students such as transportation and lodging costs. Mrs. McGill considers the overnight visits a success; “Our students walked away with a better feel for both schools, and relationships with college admissions staff who will ultimately be making decisions on their possible acceptance.”
As Justin Collins reflects back on his four years at West Catholic Prep he has this to say about the experience “West has taught me what it means to be my own person and an individual. I learned to put myself first, take responsibility, and to be more independent and confident in myself.”
The West Catholic Prep community is happy to share stories like this one and is proud of all our seniors and their accomplishments.