While many high school students look forward to the prospect of college, the process of getting there is nonetheless daunting and stressful.

Many students delay researching universities till senior year or feel weighed down by the pressure of the college decision process. When the time comes to make a decision, most students find themselves lost and uncertain. To help students through this process, many families use the summer break before senior year to travel to prospective colleges. Among other benefits, these visits help students broaden their view of their options. In addition, it is an exciting and informational experience for them to learn more about life outside of the island state of Hawaii. Over this past summer break, a number of HBA students traveled around the country in search of their future schools.

Senior Brianne Pascua visited the Grand Canyon University (GCU) and the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) while on a two week trip for a basketball tournament. Before her college visit, Pascua had viewed Arizona as a state that was “desolate and filled with nothing for miles.” When she arrived at the campus of GCU, she was pleasantly surprised to find that the university was more “urban and city-like” than she had expected. Also, she found that the campus area offered many activities and places to have fun with friends. Pascua now finds GCU as one of her top choices, because the academic programs and facilities were “nice and affordable.” Though she still wants to keep her options open, Pascua is excited to be in a new environment and meet new friends. She sums up college as “a new chapter with new challenges.”

When it comes to the college research process, fellow senior Emi Wada feels assured and grateful for the advice she receives from her parents because they have gone through the process with her two older sisters. Wada believes that her parents’ guidance is beneficial to her making the next big decision in her life. Wada also has the benefit of older sisters, whose experiences have proven helpful to her. The biggest takeaway from her college tour in Arizona, Oregon, and Colorado was that it was a worthwhile experience, and she was extremely grateful that she could physically walk on campuses and experience what it would be like if she were a student at the school.

Along with her basketball team, senior Emi Wada visited the Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon

Across the country, senior Connor Malinger started his college tour in the Midwest and ended on the East Coast. He visited the University of Chicago (UChicago), Wheaton College (WC), Hillsdale College (HC), Kenyon College (KC), University of Virginia (UVA), and Washington and Lee University (W&L). On this trip, Malinger, a varsity runner, was searching for an athletic program that fits his needs and preferences. Malinger prepared ahead of his college visit by setting appointments with coaches in order to get a glimpse of the athletic programs and facilities the schools offer. In addition to meeting the coaches, Malinger was able to run with other track runners at Wheaton, allowing him to gain more insight for life as a student athlete. Though the trip was hectic, Malinger was glad to be able to see what life could be like in the future.

Malinger says he is well-supported by his parents and grandparents when it comes to his college research process and appreciates the open discussions he has with his family. “My parents are the greatest contributor,” Malinger said. With the few weeks left in the first quarter, seniors are currently busy filling and submitting college applications on top of their already busy schedules. Looking ahead, Malinger says he simply plans to “do his best and just finish off well.”