Henry Street Youth Expand Their Horizons with College Trip

By Nicole Fogarty

There was no sleeping in for 11th graders in the Expanded Horizons College Success program over mid-winter recess. The Henry Street college preparatory program took 47 of its participants to Washington, D.C., to visit five colleges: Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, University of Maryland, College Park and Goucher College.

The youth were able to explore each campus in-depth, often participating in tours and even attending a University of Maryland basketball game at the Xfinity Center, one of the largest college basketball arenas in the country.

“The student-led tours were my favorite part because we got to hear what it would be like to attend the schools from the students themselves. It gave me valuable perspective,” said Victoria, an Expanded Horizons participant.

Amanda, another participant, said, “It was a great experience because I normally wouldn’t have the chance to travel to these colleges. That takes a lot of time and money, but with this trip I didn’t have to worry. We were able to get in there and really experience the schools—and now one of them [Goucher College] is on my list of schools I want to attend!”

“This trip really taught me what I prefer when it comes to college: small school versus big school, open layout versus a closed campus, and so on. I got to experience most parts of the spectrum, and it helped me narrow down what I’m looking for,” said Iyayi, another student in the program.

Expanded Horizons students at University of Maryland

In addition to tours and student life activities, the group participated in a discussion at Georgetown with four first-generation students in the Georgetown Scholarship Program. This was the first panel of its kind; the school is currently rolling out a new admissions visit initiative for first generation and other underrepresented students.

“The students found this opportunity to engage and have a frank conversation with students of color at a predominantly white institution invaluable and welcoming,” said Shakira O’Kane, Henry Street Director of High School & College Success.

In a program where participants often describe it as “one big family,” participants enjoyed the chance to spend time together outside the classroom setting.

“Going with Expanded Horizons was so much more valuable than going alone, because people got to ask questions I would never have thought to ask; it was so helpful to have everyone’s perspectives all together,” said Amanda.

“My favorite part was hanging out as one big group,” added Iyayi. “Everyone got along, and it was so great to all be together while we looked at these schools.