For most, college is a four-year commitment and has potential to set up the trajectory of your life. You want to be as informed as possible when making your decision to ensure that you’re attending a school where you can thrive. Physically visiting the campus is the best way to get an impression of the atmosphere and to learn more about the college itself.
Touring a wide enough array of colleges to feel comfortable in selecting which to apply to typically requires overlap between school and your visits. One would think that with the importance placed on furthering your academic career at a college, you would also be able to attend as many during the school year as possible. However, due to a limited number of excused absences dedicated to college visits, this is not the case.
The current policy for absences regarding college visits dictates that juniors can be excused for three days in their second semester and seniors can be excused for five before the first of May. You must print out the email confirmation from the college that contains your visit’s information and have your parents sign it. These confirmations can be turned into the attendance office before or after your visit.
The finite number of excused absences for visits harms students’ ability to make a completely educated decision on where to apply and ultimately, where to attend. “We need more [days] for college visits,” junior Lainey Morris said.
Junior year is the typical start of the college process. It would make sense for juniors to be permitted to go on visits from the time that school begins, yet they’re only excused second semester. “They should make [excused visits] for first semester juniors too,” junior Peter Pietri said.
In an environment that shoves college down your throat from the beginning of freshman year, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that high school’s main purpose is to educate. This is why administrators are hesitant to permit more than eight excused college visits. “It’s a priority for students to be in school,” senior administrator Jackie Lightsey said.
There are special cases in which underclassmen can be excused for a visit. “Juniors in first semester that have programs are able to get that approved as a college visit,” Lightsey said.
These “special cases” also extend to student-athletes who choose to commit while they are still considered underclassmen. In my personal field hockey recruitment experience, I found it extremely helpful to figure out what I want in a college before the stress of junior and senior year ensued.
All in all, excused absences for college visits shouldn’t limited. Allowing more excused visits would do nothing but help students along in finding the perfect college fit. If a student desperately needs an extra day for a visit, it’s easy to say they had a sick-day, making the college-visit category a farce.