Cavaliers Visit the South During 2019 Out-of-State College Tour


Khushnuma Driver

The 2019 college tour group poses for a photo outside of a library at Davidson College in North Carolina.

Chase Bagnall-Koger, News Editor

This year’s annual out-of-state college tour allowed Cavalier students to become acquainted with the campuses of prestigious colleges in the southern United States. The trip, which took place on Nov. 4-8, was organized by Student Activities several months in advance and attended mostly by students from the class of 2021 who wished to get a sense of the diverse opportunities for post-secondary education that exist outside of their home state.

In addition to taking official tours at most of the schools, Gables students had the unique opportunity of speaking with Gables alumni that currently attend the universities to get a realistic student perspective of daily life on campus, as well as the advantages and challenges of attending each school.

After a short flight into Atlanta, the group kicked off the tour with a visit to the centrally located Emory University, where they met with Moira Meijaard, a class of 2017 Gables graduate who showed students around the campus. With a rich history and modern campus, Emory University offers students a blend of historically prestigious academic programs and the diverse opportunities available in a big city, such as internships and work experience while living on campus.

The next day of the tour continued with a drive to Davidson College, a small liberal arts school in Davidson, North Carolina. Davidson is well-known for its participation in the prestigious Posse scholarship program, a foundation that matches a select few winners to six schools throughout the United States.

This is how Gables class of 2019 graduate Dominique Babin became enrolled in Davidson college; after passing rounds of assessment designed to narrow the pool of Posse applicants, Babin was matched with and accepted into Davidson. After adjusting to life as a college freshman, Babin met with the Cavalier group before their visit to campus to discuss her experience at the highly selective college.

Joined by Babin, the students then embarked on an official tour of the school, visiting its central library, cafeteria, dormitories and athletic facilities. As a division one school, Davidson takes great pride in its athletic program, which the Cavalier students experienced firsthand at a Davidson vs. Georgetown women’s basketball game that night.

Located just a few hours away by car, Duke University was the much-anticipated next stop on the tour. With its cathedral-like architecture and expansive campus, its physical appearance matched its academic excellence.

An official Duke tour guide led the Gables students around campus, recounting her experiences as a freshman when she found a community of like-minded people at Duke while adjusting to living far from home.

The campus tour took students to classrooms, one of the several university libraries, along with the number-one-rated university cafeteria, and the campus book store to allow the students a chance to purchase Duke merchandise.

Later that day, students traveled a short 20 minutes to rival school University of North Carolina.  With the guidance of Gables Alumni Thomas Harley and Marina Torres, the students explored the expansive campus from the library to the freshman dormitories and finally to the famous Old Well of UNC, which allegedly ensures that all those who drink from it maintain a 4.0 grade point average.

The rural Elon University was the next stop on the tour, giving students a taste of what a small-town liberal arts college experience is like. After a brief introductory presentation, the group toured the scenic area, which was filled by green spaces and classic brick buildings. They were even able to eat in the Elon cafeteria to more closely imitate the experience of a student at Elon.

In the afternoon, the tour continued to the nearby Wake Forest University. Inside a small auditorium, students received their first introduction to the unique campus culture of the school: in addition to the quirky writing supplements that are required of wake forest applicants, the school has an unusual tradition of “Rolling the Quad,” throwing toilet paper over trees on campus in celebration of a school-wide or personal victory.

The school also boasts an extensive study-abroad program and owns properties for their students to stay in around the world.

A guided tour of Wake Forest, which began shortly after the presentation, allowed students to learn more about the student life classes and academic tracks available at the university.

Perhaps the least-known of the colleges visited is Salem College, a women’s college with approximately 700 undergraduate students. Though relatively small, Cavalier students were able to see during their visit on the last day of College Tour that Salem college offers students a nurturing environment to build relationships, along with small class sizes and flexible financial aid options.

Though college applications remain over a year away for the mostly junior class participants of the College Tour, the visits to such different universities will help them as they begin to narrow down their ideal college by size and academic or athletic programs.

“Seeing all the colleges and getting a feel for the college atmosphere helped me realize what I wanted in a college, whereas before I was not sure what type of college I wanted to go to,” junior Vivian Lowe said.

The diverse array of colleges in the tour were selected by the junior class Student Activities Board, who organized and coordinated the entire trip months in advance.

After observing the 2018 out-of-state college tour, which took cavaliers to the New York area, the student activities board noticed that many Gables students preferred to go to college closer to Florida.

“We saw that a lot of students want to stay closer to home and the Southeast is a much more realistic region that students might attend college and be able to afford,” junior Sofia Rebull said.

After coordinating with colleges and designing an itinerary since December 2018, the board planned a carefully organized and fun trip that allowed Cavaliers a glimpse into their futures after graduation. Though the location of the tour varies, the experience is always a helpful and exciting one for these college-bound Cavaliers.


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  • The 2019 college tour group poses for a photo outside of a library at Davidson College in North Carolina.