Visiting Swarthmore College & Villanova University

On a recent fall morning, a group of scholars from Democracy Prep Harlem High boarded a bus headed for four prestigious colleges and universities: Swarthmore, Villanova, Temple, and Haverford.

We turned to juniors Clayton F. and Damion D. share what it was like to experience collegiate life for a day.

“I realized that you can’t let anything stop you. Some things that may seem to be a disadvantage can actually be used to your advantage.”

Swarthmore College & Villanova University

By: Clayton F.

I had been waiting for what seems like forever.

IMG_0320The idea of college has always been important, but it still felt so abstract. However, this year has been different. Although I’ve been a junior for less than 3 months, I’ve been preparing for college a lot. From meeting with college admission officers to preparing for the ACT, this year has already been so college focused. My trip to Pennsylvania with my fellow scholars to visit Swarthmore College felt like a natural next step.

It was so interesting to learn what makes a small private college so spectacular. As we walked past a classroom, I saw about 20 students interacting with a professor similar to the interactions of scholars with teachers at DP. That made me interested in Swarthmore because I love the small group instruction that happens at DP and would look for that as I determine what colleges I should apply to.

After the tour of Swarthmore, we traveled to Villanova University. In a matter of only 15 minutes, we transitioned from a small school to a large University where many students traveled around the beautiful campus.

We headed to one of Villanova’s dining halls and my taste buds took over as the infinite selections of food brought a smile to my face. After lunch, we pulled bright, green shirts over our uniforms in preparation for volunteering with the Special Olympics. While watching and cheering on the participants, I realized that you can’t let anything stop you. Some things that may seem to be a disadvantage can actually be used to your advantage.

This is something that I will take into consideration as my high school years come to an end and I apply to colleges. Some people may see the fact that I am a minority in a struggling community and attending a school that is relatively young in reputation as a disadvantage. But DP has given me so many opportunities ranging from starting a scholar-lead club to traveling all over the country for Speech and Debate competitions. I’ve been able to turn my disadvantages into advantages that will make me a better college applicant and I didn’t realize that until the bus ride home that Friday afternoon.

I guess you really do learn something new every day!


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