I was fortunate enough to get to go on a field trip with my school's AVID program with 42 sophomores and juniors to visit colleges. AVID is an amazing program, and I wholeheartedly believe it makes a difference for kids who might need a little help getting to college. I use a lot of AVID teaching strategies in my English classes and I'm hoping someday to teach the AVID elective. This trip was a great chance for me to see how the field trip works... and honestly it was a great peek into some California schools since I hadn't been to any of the six we visited. I'm thankful for the insight, since every year I'm helping seniors fill out college applications. I feel like I can more accurately speak about what they're aiming for.
Back when I was applying to colleges in high school, I did it completely blind. I checked boxes on my application without even thinking about going to the schools to see what the feel of the campus was. E and I want to start taking our kids when they're about junior high age so they will have a good idea of where they want to go. This trip was a good first step for me; I kept trying to imagine Buddy or Miss Roo in each of these places.
This trip was four days, and included six schools: Fresno State, CSU Dominguez Hills, Cal Poly Pomona, UC Riverside, San Diego State, and UC San Diego.
Our first stop was Fresno State University, in central California. It was a nice campus, and it had a really open feel. I could easily see kids transitioning from our high school (which has an Ag focus) to Fresno. In terms of architecture, it was nothing flashy, but it definitely had that college feel to it. Lots of open space. That part reminded me of UC Davis, where I went to school.
Our next stop after a long drive (and some traffic on the 405) was CSU Dominguez Hills. This was a new school for the other AVID teachers to see, too. We met up with some of our former students, who led our tour. I loved the library building, especially.
I was really pleased to talk to our kids who are studying there and hear what a positive experience they're having. They both said that they feel like their professors really care about them and want to give back to that area. It seems like the whole school has a focus on improving the community. The kids are both thriving. Made me so proud.
After we left CSUDH, we took the kids to a mall for dinner and then checked into our hotel near LAX. The hotel was nice enough, but we had just settled into our room on the second floor when we heard a gurgling, bubbling noise. To our horror, we had raw sewage bubbling up into our bathtub. Moments later, our toilet overflowed. It took some time for the hotel to find a place to move us, and they had to move the room of students next to us, too. Their bathtub didn't have any poop in it (thank goodness) but it just wasn't draining. After that adventure, we pretty much collapsed into bed.
The next day we woke up and headed for our our third school, Cal Poly Pomona. Beautiful school. E went to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo (that's where we got engaged, too), so I've heard about Pomona but I've never seen it. It was gorgeous and in some ways very similar to SLO. It felt small. And well-maintained. Tucked into the mountains. Kind of like a private school. The kind of place I'd be really happy if Henry or Addie decided to go one day.