First 3 Days of My College Tour

Kalyn Ford’17

The typical Spring Break usually consists of family vacations on the beach. My typical spring break is staying at home and watching Netflix while cuddled up with my dog. This spring break however was not my average spring break at all.

As a junior, it is imperative that you’ve been on at least one college visit by spring time. Being the person that I am, I was only interested in visiting colleges that were way down south, and by way down south I mean Alabama University and Louisiana State University. You know, colleges that are 8-12 hours away that I couldn’t really visit while in school.

About a month before Spring Break, my mom told me she signed me up for a week-long tour of colleges. In consisted of 10 colleges, and about 24 hours of riding on a bus.

At first I was really skeptical about it because I had not heard about almost half of the schools we were visiting before, and it was over spring break. I wanted that time to relax, hang with my friends, and maybe even go swimming. Along side of that, I would be missing my friend’s birthday dinner and I would be missing out on the first two track meets this year.

Once I realized there was no way I could get out of the trip, I began to accept the fact. I remembered that this is a great opportunity for me. Besides, it would be my fist time going on a college visit.

The college tour was arranged by a program with the name of Step Higher, directed by Ms. Janelle Hocker. Every year, she takes a group of kids to different HBCUs around the world. This year, there were 80 kids and 10 chaperones, one being my mom.  We left the morning of March 26th, and returned the night of April 1st.

Everyone met up at Woodlawn Recreation Center at 6:30am. After about an hour’s worth of check ins, we were ready to head off to Washington D.C.

We rode on the bus for about 3 hours before we took our first restroom break. Since there were a lot of kids, we had 2 buses full and this was the first time I actually saw everyone’s face. It turned out that I knew a lot of people who were on the trip too. I knew a few who I went to grade school with, played basketball with, or just knew from hanging out.

The drive to Washington D.C. was about 8 hours. There, we visited our first college, Howard University.

After the college visit, we went to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Park.

The first hotel we stayed in was in Hampton, Virginia, which is only about 20 minutes from D.C. This was the best hotel we stayed in all trip. There were suppose to be four girls to a room, but fortunately my room only had three girls and I already knew both of them.

All they girls were on one floor, and the boys were on a different one. Every night around 11pm, the chaperones went around to everyone’s room and locked us in. They put blue painters tape on the doors so they’d know if anyone snuck out their room.

We had a wake up call at 6:30am and were scheduled to be at Hampton University in Virginia at 9:30am.

After about an hour or two of walking around on campus, we stopped in their student section to get some food. We spent about 30 minutes there, and it was just enough time to regenerate because we had another college to visit. We loaded the buses, and were off to visit our third school, Norfolk State University.

By this time in the trip, we were only 2 days in, and visited 3 schools in two different states. Norfolk was just about everyone’s favorite college, including mine, at this time.

By the end of this visit, everyone was so exhausted. We had walked two college campuses in 70 degree weather (which we weren’t used to yet with it being March still here in Cincinnati). Fortunately for us, this was our last college for the day. We loaded the buses once again, and headed towards North Carolina, which was about a 4 hour drive.

As we arrived at the hotel and walked to our rooms, my roommates learned something new about me. They learned never to give me the room key. I accidentally laid the key on my phone, which deactivated the card. This lead to us being locked out our room.

The first thing on our agenda the next morning was to visit Bennett College. This college is an all girls school so all the boys stayed on the buses.

After leaving this campus, our next stop was North Carolina A&T. Fortunately for us, it was only across the street so we didn’t have far to travel.

Not only was North Carolina’s campus very welcoming, the students there were very interactive with us.

After visiting 5 schools, North Carolina was by far my favorite school.


This concluded the first three days of my week-long college tour.


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