Northern California College Tour Review

By: Alexis Sanchez, Carlos Rodriguez, and Kimberly Herrera

The junior college trip took 46 students to Northern California on tours to different colleges. These students were given a unique opportunity to visit high tier universities, who many are considering applying to. The trip was separated into two tours: Tour 1 (UC Santa Cruz, University of the Pacific, CSU Fresno, and UC Merced) and and Tour 2 (UC Santa Cruz, CSU Monterey Bay, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and UC Santa Barbara).

The buses departed on April 3rd at 10:30am towards Santa Cruz, CA. Students had to find ways to entertain themselves for six hours on a bus. Many began spring break homework, while others simply admired the scenery of the road trip. For example, mountains, valleys, cows, and horses were very common throughout the six hour journey. Surprisingly, students were able to see a burning car at the side of the road. Luckily, no one was hurt.

After three hours of non-stop driving both tours made a stop at Lost Hills as a food stop. The options there were limited including only fast food restaurants. Most students didn’t seem satisfied of traveling three hours only for the same food options they can get back home, however, others enjoyed the various options available.

At about 6pm, both buses arrived at the hotel where students would stay for the first night.

The hotel appeared very hidden and comparably small to other hotels near the area. Students didn’t seem to like the hotel, however, they managed. After the students checked into the hotel, they went to the Santa Cruz Board Walk where the hung out with friends, ate food, got on rides, and even went to an arcade. At the Board Walk, students had a great time and by 8:45pm they were headed back to the hotel.

Once there, students were given an hour to visit others in different rooms and study, do homework, eat snacks, or hang out. Teachers walked around each room by 9pm to tape students in and assure that every student was in his or her assigned room. From then on, students were free to do anything within their relatively large hotel rooms. Many students enjoyed eating chips, cookies, and candy with their roommates and watching movies on TV or on Netflix. Others brought laptops and game systems to play. Most students went to sleep really late, yet they were up and ready in the morning to make their way to UC Santa Cruz.

That morning many woke up around 6am to shower and change, as well as pack all their things to leave the hotel. At 7am, the tape was removed from the doors and students made their way to eat breakfast at the hotel lobby. Students found this breakfast satisfying as many choices from cereal to waffles were available. While eating, the juniors talked about their hotel experience with friends and retold funny stories. Finally at 8:30am, both tours began their 10 minute drive to UC Santa Cruz (UCSC).

When students arrived to UC Santa Cruz many were amazed to see the wildlife and the original standing structures that have been here since the school was open. The visit started with a brief powerpoint and then the students were off to visit APB graduates from the class of 2015. The students took a tour of the dorms and then listened to how college life is very different from high school. Many students enjoyed their experience at UCSC and were excited towards applying.

After the tour, APB Gryphons were given the opportunity to have lunch at a UCSC café. The food was mostly enjoyable and students began to say goodbye to students from other tours as Tour 1 would make their way to University of the Pacific and Tour 2 would depart to CSU Monterey Bay (CSUMB).  

Tour 1 had a negative view of University of the Pacific. America Hidalgo believes this was the least enjoyable campus to visit because of the lack of school spirit.

“It was really small and I didn’t see many people or any organizations outside,” said Hidalgo.

This trip involved a lot of walking and many students didn’t get enough sleep because they were up all night with their friends. The students were very tired and many of them took naps on the bus in order to try to catch up on sleep that they lost. America also mentioned that she wished that the teachers would have given the students an extra hour to rest and relax because the students were very tired. Nevertheless, they headed towards CSU Fresno.

Similarly, students from Tour 2 seemed to dislike CSU Monterey Bay due to the lack of student population and the lack of college life. The architecture also wasn’t as amazing as at UCSC, as CSUMB was previously a military base. After the tour was finished, Tour 2 began their road trip to San Luis Obispo (SLO).

Students got at SLO around 6pm. Teachers then gave the juniors two hours to go downtown and visit the many stores and buy anything they liked. With selections from Express to Barnes and Nobles, there was something for everyone. Likewise, many used the opportunity to eat as there were many restaurants such as The Habit and Wing Stop. For many, this was the highlight of the trip.

The next morning, students visited Cal Poly SLO. With an energetic tour guide and a beautiful campus, the majority of Tour 2 students fell in love with this college. Cal Poly demonstrated a great STEM program and many internship opportunities, as well as a huge number of resources for students.

At CSU Fresno (Tour 1), the campus had mixed reactions as many liked the campus and its programs, but others disliked the lack of student life. The final stop for Tour 1 was UC Merced, the newest of the UC campuses. This campus filled the eyes of the juniors as its new architecture and technological advances inspired many to apply. At the same time, the large APB community present at UC Merced was a great addition to the campus.

The last stop for Tour 2 was UC Santa Barbara. After the short and quick tour of UCSB students felt that they didn’t get a full view of the entire campus.

Junior Tiofilo Cortez said, “The stay at UCSB was so rushed that I could not enjoy the tour or campus. I was looking forward to it.

Overall, students enjoyed spending time with their friends and the freedom they were granted to go out on their own. The students, however, didn’t seem to like the campus tours that were too tiring after a long night and the touring previous colleges.

“I liked being able to hang out with friends without having any parents telling me what to do,” said Cortez.

In summary, the students enjoyed visiting possible colleges that they might attend in the future. After the trip, many students realized what factors they wanted in a college when determining where to apply. This trip was very informative for students who plan to attend those colleges.

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