April 3rd, 6 AM: 19 sleepy teens are climbing into vans in the parking lot. It’s dark, cold (and probably snowing), but there is an edge of excitement because they’ve worked hard to be here. It’s the start of the 6th annual YEP College Tour, and within minutes 19 high school youth will be on the road to Kentucky, visiting 5 colleges over 3 days. Two YEPs reflect on their experiences below:
"The importance of college tours is to educate and empower students to strive for greatness. Before this trip, I never even thought about going to college. I had convinced myself that I wouldn’t need it. But going to WKU (Western Kentucky University) changed that immensely for me. I loved seeing the university life. It really inspired me.
As we drove through downtown Cincinnati I felt a feeling of want, a longing feeling - I wanted to walk past rustic old buildings on my way to college every day, a scorching coffee burning my hand as I struggled to carry my books and supplies. I wanted to be a Bulldog, I wanted that sense of family. I wanted to be a Jazzer, I wanted to feel at home, safe and comfortable. Without this trip, I believe I would still be thinking that I don’t need college, that I don’t need to go to a university, but we need to speak what we want into existence, then strive for it. I’m hungry for greatness now."
"I know that I’m a baby when doing things on my own. It’s so hard for me to participate in something new, much less alone, and that is exactly what college is: your own education, your own decisions, your own journey on into “adult” life. It’s crazy to think about making your college decision based on pictures and pamphlets alone. College is an atmosphere, a vibe. Some campuses will feel like home and family-oriented, such as Wilberforce. Some will have things students can relate to--inside jokes--like Western Kentucky University. It’s important to see all these things in person, so you can truly experience them.
A college tour lets you stand and look your future in the face, so you can make the choice, “This is my school. This is MY future.” That’s the importance of college tours."
Community enCompass would like to thank everyone involved in supporting the YEP's in this opportunity. And we wish all the YEP's graduating High School and heading to College this year our warmest congratulations and good luck in the next chapter of their lives.