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Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Summer time travels - College Prep on the go!

 by Katherine O'Brien, MA CCPS, Founder of Celtic College Consultants

Summer trips are wonderful opportunities to deepen and refine your students' interests. Experiential learning has been shown to significantly improve college outcomes. Your student(s) will also be able to refine his/her/their ideas about what they want to study at university. This clarity gets them on track to complete their degree in four years, rather than six (the US average!) and to be more articulate during campus visits and "Why do you want to study your major?" admissions application essay questions. For all these reasons, and more!, incorporating your teens' interests into your travel plans is beneficial! Don't forget to plan some fun family activities (crafts, games, sports, etc.) into your trip to make it memorable and enjoyable for everyone!

Here are a few ideas to get you started...

Do you have a budding history buff? Visit battlegrounds, monuments, museums, and other places of historical interests. Attend (participate, if you can!) re-enactments and other events. Need some sun? Visit the place of the first Catholic Mass in North America. The first Mass for which a record exists took place during the second voyage of Christopher Columbus, on the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1494, at the temporary shelter that would serve as a church at La Isabela, 30 miles west of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. If you'd rather stay in the US, the Mass offered by Fr. Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales on September 8, 1565 was the first Mass in what would become the United State. It was conducted when Spanish Admiral Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles came ashore to establish the city of St. Augustine in what is now Florida. Or, visit the Alamo, the California Missions, the Shrine of St. Joseph in Montréal, Canada, or.... (you get the idea)

Is someone in your home interested in space, astrophysics, planetary geology, astronomy, or a related field? Houston might right for your trip. Visit NASA's Johnson Space Center's Visitor Center and the George Observatory (be sure to purchase your tickets online ahead of time!) The Houston Museum of Natural Science also awaits your exploration. Of course, Cape Canaveral and environs in Florida is another good place to explore. Did you know that the Northern Lights were recently seen in Wisconsin? Have your teen do some research into his or her interests and help you plan a trip that will be interesting for your whole family.

Language immersion is integral to developing proficiency. French speaking opportunities abound in Montréal. Spanish speaking opportunities exist in many places. Conradh na Gaeilge groups exist in many places in the US and around the world, for those interested in learning the Irish language. If German is your passion, take a trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan, about 90 miles north of Detroit. Mandarin and Cantonese have communities in New York City and San Francisco. If Arabic is your language, find a Maronite community and reach out to the priest. There is a Maronite rite Catholic parish in San Diego (a great place to visit for many reasons!) as well as a number of parishes in New York (city and state) and in the Detroit area.

By now, I think you've gotten the idea. Take trips. Explore interests. Visit campuses. And make memories! The journey to college can include fun and adventure!