RUMFORD — Recently Mountain Valley High School students visited a wide range of colleges to learn about campus life.

“College visits are often a first step in raising students’ aspirations to attend school after they graduate,” said principal Matt Gilbert. “By the time a student graduates from MVHS, we hope they have seen several Maine colleges firsthand.”

The freshmen toured Central Maine Community College in Auburn. CMCC offers a diverse range of majors including culinary arts, computer technology, electromechanical technology, nursing and precision machining technology. Offerings range from two-year associate degrees to one-year certificates and four-year transfer options.

For Coyote Freeman one of the highlights of the trip was visiting with a MVHS alumnus noted for his athletic performances. “Justin Stares was there and we got to see him,” Freeman said. “Unfortunately, we did not go into the dorm rooms.”

Sophomores chose between Thomas College and Colby College in Waterville. Known as a business school, Thomas College also offers majors in criminal justice and sport management. Colby College grants bachelor of arts degrees in 54 majors and has students from 46 states and 76 countries, according to its website.

At Colby, three student tour guides showed 28 MVHS students around campus. Brandon Roberts said, “We got to see the sports field. We saw the student lounge and where the students eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. We also went to one of the buildings where they held some of the classrooms.”

Robyn Pellerin visited Thomas College. “They are very sports oriented which doesn’t interest me. They didn’t have much of the arts and that is what I want to pursue. I think it’s a good idea to tour colleges, though. It makes it easier to choose if you have seen the campus.”

The juniors also had a choice between Portland schools. Some explored Maine College of Arts while others visited University of Southern Maine. MECA students spend two years learning the foundation of arts and the remaining two years engaged in one of 10 majors. They have 24/7 access to their major’s studio. USM offers more than 115 areas of study at its three campuses located in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston/Auburn. It was named one of the “Best in the Northeast” by Princeton Review.

Student Reporter Mariah Haggan wrote about her visit to USM, “A student who attended the trip made it seem that food was the only thing that came through. When asked about the classrooms and dorms, she said she didn’t get to see them. ‘We got to see the buildings outside…we did get to see the library.’ Unfortunately, two huge parts of campus life, the places where students spend most of their time, went unseen.”

Casey Waterhouse’s experience at MECA was vastly different. He said, “MECA was a great college with a lot of room in it. It allowed you to be what you truly are – ‘cubicles of creativity’ is the best way to explain it. With only six students, we got a lot more personal experience than my classmates did at the other schools. It made me change my opinions of colleges. At first I didn’t plan to go to college, now I see it as a possibility.”

While the underclassmen toured college campuses, the seniors stayed at MVHS and focused on financial literacy.

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