Upperclassmen Visit Florida Schools During In-State College Tour


Laura Ridoux

On day two of the in-state college tour, students visited UF and FSU.

With college application deadlines right around the corner, Coral Gables Senior High organized an in-state college tour providing juniors with the opportunity to start exploring college campuses while seniors make their final decisions regarding where to apply. Originally scheduled for the end of September, the tour was postponed to late October due to Hurricane Ian. 

Departing on Oct. 28 at 5:20 a.m., Cavaliers commenced their tour with a first stop at the University of Central Florida, where they were welcomed by two student tour guides. Answering questions about academics and housing, they showed students around campus, pointing out important buildings such as the library, restaurants and the smaller colleges found on campus.

After lunch, the next visit was to Rollins College, a private university in Winter Park, Fla. An admissions officer gave a short presentation in the auditorium covering what majors are offered, what they look for in applications and general information about the college. 

Four student guides then toured students around campus, pointing out dormitories, the dining hall and even some unique features such as a recreational pool as well as a building dedicated to career planning for life beyond college. Cavaliers then headed to their hotel in Gainesville to get some rest in preparation for the next day.

“I had already visited a lot of the schools on the trip, but either way, I still wanted to get a visual and physical perspective of what college life truly was at these universities as well as giving me further insight on schools that I had already applied to,” senior Rafael Sans said.

Day two started the morning off with a visit to the University of Florida’s expansive campus. Multiple buildings were pointed out such as the bell tower and dormitories, along with a small explanation of their features. Before leaving, students got the opportunity to grab some snacks inside the Student Union building and purchase some UF gear. The group also met some Gables alumni passing by, who shared their college experiences thus far. 

After the UF tour, Cavaliers went to Tallahassee and had lunch at the Florida State University Seminole Café. Two FSU seniors who attended high school in Miami then gave a tour around campus which came to a close at the Doak S. Campbell Stadium, where students bought FSU merch and saw the Bobby Bowden Field up close. Cavaliers then made their way back to the hotel in Gainesville for a final night.

“My favorite part of the tour was going to the FSU stadium, being able to go take pictures and just living the experience of being at the actual stadium. The tour provided me with that physical connection to colleges and I think that this will help me with my college decision process,” junior Tamya Wallace said.

On the third and final day of the college tour, the University of Tampa was the first college of the day. The three tour guides pointed out the architecture of the buildings, student housing and the “heart of UT” at the collegiate gym. 

“The trip was really helpful in my decision-making process. I was really close-minded about the colleges and now I’m more open about it. I’m applying to every university we visited because they all seem like good options now having seen them in person,” senior Gregory Zafrilla said.

Cavaliers concluded their in-state college tour by visiting the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg Campus. The St. Pete Campus, one of three, stands minutes away from the renowned beach, providing students with easy access to coastal activities. The tour gave the upperclassmen a glimpse of life around a moderate student population with access to a body of water and free rental of sailboats and paddle boats.

“The college tour offered me the opportunity to learn not just about specific details of each school but also what I like and dislike in a school. For example, I realized that a big school with over 50,000 students isn’t something I’d be interested in and that I’d like a more personal and tight-knit college experience. It also helped me realize the importance of the location and architecture of a college in your experience,” junior Emily Kardjian said. 

After three informative days of college touring, Cavaliers returned having discovered multiple colleges in Florida and leaving with some idea of what their ideal college fit is. To officially conclude the tour, students sang the alma mater as they arrived back at Gables.

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  • Students purchase FSU gear to wear at Gables.

  • The University of Florida tour consisted of walking through its campus while important buildings were pointed out.

  • Cavaliers fill out information cards for the University of Tampa to contact them about upcoming deadlines as well as information on the college itself.

  • Ms. Van Wyk and Mr. Molina were a few of the supervisors on the college tour.

  • At USF, students walked around the St. Petersburg campus and visited buildings such as the gym.

  • At UCF, student guides toured the group through campus and answered questions.