Every summer, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions hosts two overnight programs (one in July and one in August) for students who will be entering their senior year in high school. I actually had the unique experience of going to College and Careers as a high school student, and now I'm working at College and Careers as a student Ambassador!
I remember the summer before my senior year; my dad mentioned something about an overnight at RIT. I wasn't all that interested at the time. I had a soccer tournament coming up that I didn't want to miss, and didn't really want to spend my weekend doing "educational" things. I was still pretty torn on my major - I couldn't decide between graphic design and engineering. My dad pointed out that there were going to be workshops where I could learn about several majors, and that it would probably help me decide. Eventually I gave in and signed up – picking graphic design, civil engineering, and packaging science for my workshops.
College and Careers was a great experience and I'm so glad my dad convinced me to go. It was my first real taste of college life. My parents helped me set up my bed in the residence hall where I was staying, and then we explored campus. It was really cool seeing what the rooms were like first hand; I had never seen RIT's residence halls before College and Careers. Later, we went on a tour of campus. I remember being pretty impressed about the tour guides walking backwards the entire time (and now I'm one of them!).
The real fun began when the students broke off from their families (no offense, Mom and Dad). The staff had a whole itinerary of cool events available for us. It was so much fun to do our own things and check out the different activities. I wandered around with a friend from high school and both of our roommates. There was a tattoo artist, a DJ, inflatable games, dodgeball, miniature golf, Quidditch, open swim in the Judson pool, and all sorts of other fun stuff. We were even able to start up our own game of volleyball!
Eating at Gracie's, the all-you-can-eat dining hall on the residence side, was quite the experience too. I was impressed by the variety of food options available.
The next day was all about the academic workshops. Everyone was looking for people with a similar schedule of workshops to walk with and find the rooms. I was excited to see what the majors would be like and to try to get a feel for the campus. I came from a private high school that was really strict about the dress code, so already I was excited to get away from that. Cell phones were another thing. I was so used to a "no cell phone" policy at high school, but on campus no one seemed to care. This seemed so cool to me at the time (now it's second nature to have my phone with my all the time).
In the end, College and Careers helped me decide on Civil Engineering Technology as a major. They demonstrated really cool software for testing the theoretical loading and pressure points on bridges. The overnight also helped me decide on RIT as a whole. I could totally picture myself living and going to classes there.
Now, four years later, I've had the experience of staffing College and Careers as a Student Ambassador. It's crazy to see it from both sides. Now I'm one of those tour guides who give the backwards tours, and I've run those fun late-night events for students. It's exciting to see those high school students figure out what major or what direction they want to go in, and to offer any advice that I've learned myself!
Here are some pictures from one of the events last summer!