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Juniors at Westlake Take College Trip to Conn.

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – Juniors at Westlake High School were given the opportunity to take the day off of school Friday and travel to Connecticut to take a tour of three colleges and universities.

“It’s a good first opportunity for students to be able to go and take a tour of colleges to let them become more comfortable with the college process,” said Westlake Guidance counselor Nick DiPaolo.

Through a grant received from the Mount Pleasant Education Foundation and the Westlake PTA, around 30 students were able to visit Sacred Heart University, Fairfield University, and the University of Bridgeport. At each school, the group received a campus tour. The students left Westlake High at around 8 a.m. with a goal to return back to the school around 6 p.m. Friday evening. The students were accompanied by DiPaolo and three other guidance counselors. Sign up for the trip was done on a first come, first serve basis

DiPaolo said he feels that it could be beneficial for the students to take a group trip, as opposed to a private one with their parents, especially early on in the process.

“It’s good for the students to go with a group of their peers so that they feel a little bit more comfortable,” DiPaolo said. “And also to be with us as their guidance counselors so that they can bounce ideas and questions off of us that they might want to ask.”

Matt Buckley, a junior at Westlake, attended the trip and said he mostly wanted to see a college environment.

“I’m mostly just looking forward to seeing the overall campus lifestyle and the people that are there,” Buckley said. “I think that will help with picking out schools,”

Brittany Sirico, also a junior, said she was going into the trip as an open book.

“I hope I see something that sparks my interest because I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do in college,” Sirico said.

Westlake held a similar trip in the spring of 2011 where they took the juniors at the time to view a group of schools in Pennsylvania. DiPaolo said it is more beneficial to have juniors visit schools in the fall since it is early in the school selection process.  However, he said that the guidance department will look to hold another trip this spring if they are able to acquire another grant.

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