For high school seniors, touring a college campus can be a portal into a potential future. But for students—first-generation college students in particular—these visits also bring them into an unfamiliar world and can lead to questions and worries. What will it be like to be in a place so different from home? What will living with roommates be like? What should my major be? Scholars in the Davis Maine Scholarship program started answering some of those questions and envisioning their future during a five-day trip earlier this month.
Antonio, Joe, Austin, Laney, Tori, and Marissa, this year’s Davis Maine Scholars, along with Christina Griffith, Director of Davis Maine Scholarship, and Marianne Calcara from Bowdoin Upward Bound, piled into rental cars to visit the Mission’s three Davis Maine Scholarship partner colleges Wheaton College, Clark University, and University of New England (UNE).
Guided by Griffith, these high school seniors spent a few days touring campuses and finding out more about daily college life. After weeks of close collaboration with partner colleges’ admissions colleagues to create helpful, meaningful visits, the Scholars were able to meet with college students, engage with professors and academic program managers, and visit with residential support staff on each campus They also learned more about support programs like tutoring, academic advising, and transition support for first-generation college students. The inaugural Davis Maine Scholar cohort, who just started their first semesters of college, also shared their stories and insights. With such exposure to each college’s programs and resources, seniors began to realize that even far from home, they would not be alone.
Heading Out on College Visits
The group started their trip in Ellsworth and made the 180-mile journey down the coast to Biddeford. UNE has a beautiful campus along the coast of Southern Maine with a medical campus in Portland and an international campus in Tangier, Morocco. There, the group met with the four Davis Maine Scholars attending UNE, Mali, Lisett, Emilee, and Rachel, toured the college and had dinner with the president of the college overlooking the ocean.
Their next stop was at Clark University in Worcester, MA, where they explored the campus, learned more about services available to first-year students, grabbed coffee at an off-campus café, and had dinner with the college’s president.
Clark is a small university, with just over 3,100 students, tucked in Worcester, which with a population of almost 200,000 people is larger than Hancock and Washington Counties combined.
Less than an hour away was the next and final college they visited, Wheaton College in Norton, MA. While Clark is in a bustling city, Wheaton’s campus sits on more than 400-acres dotted with trees, an observatory, and its own pond.
At Wheaton, the students met Ana Rosa and Mya, Davis Maine Scholars who just started their first year of college, who told them more about their transition to college life. From there they had breakfast with the college’s president and had an opportunity to visit classes based on their academic interests and saw Peacock Pond which is home to the annual Peacock Regatta. Class of ‘22 Davis Maine Scholar Mya shared, “Being at Wheaton it is going very well. Even though it is hard being away from home, Wheaton makes it feel better. At Wheaton everything is inviting-the campus, the people and the professors are very compassionate.”
Reflecting on the trip, Class of ‘23 Davis Maine Scholar Antonio shared, “College was always something that scared me deep down. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to navigate the whole process. After becoming a Davis Maine Scholar and going on this trip, I no longer feel that way. Instead, I feel hopeful for the future. This trip was amazing for everyone, and we now have the chance to do great things.”
Following the trip, Davis Maine Scholars shared their impressions with their families and met with their mentors to talk through their experiences. In November, the students will send in their applications and will decide which college they will attend by May 1.
Learn more about the Davis Maine Scholarship here.