MAC Scholars search for comfortable colleges


MAC Scholars on HBCU trip visit Tennessee State University in hopes of finding a college for them

Alexis Walker

As the high school chapter of senior TraZhane’ Richardson’s life draws to a close, it is time for her to follow a new path towards college and a pave a future for herself.
The task of finding a college to stay at for a whole four years that will accept someone, give them an exceptional education and a pleasant experience is anything but easy. Every year, hearts break when high school sweethearts go their separate ways because of the distance between colleges and new lifestyles each will pursue.
“The most important thing when thinking about college is what’s going to be the best decision for you,” Richardson said. “Being able to decide without doing your research on what a school has to offer isn’t a good idea.”
Before the MAC Scholars visit to Nashville, Tennessee to visit Historic Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Richardson already had a pretty good understanding about what college would be like.  However, the MAC Scholars HBCU trip, taken to nearly a different place each year, helps students to think outside of Missouri when choosing a college. The tour gave students a chance to consider a college a little further away from home that may be more of their style.
MAC Scholars sponsor Joe Collier wants to make sure that students are in a place that they can succeed socially and school-wise.
“MAC Scholars HBCU tours is first about promoting the HBCU colleges,” Collier said. “It also allows students to visit schools that they probably wouldn’t be able to have the resources, family-wise to go and visit.”
Collier believes by providing the opportunity to visit HBCU colleges, students can get a feel for what a college in another state may be able to provide a better environment than in Missouri.
“[The trip] exposes them[students] to different locations and makes sure they are going where they are comfortable,” Collier said. “so that they are getting exposed to as many schools as possible.”
When it comes to the atmosphere of her future college, junior Kaelyn Kovarik is focused on both a strong academic program and a comfortable place to enjoy her next four years.
“I want a larger school with lots of new people to get to know,” Kovarik said. “[I am looking for a] wide range of academic options to really branch out and explore to find out what I might want to do with the rest of my life.”
Collier believes that overall, academics are the number one priority, but if a student excels in a certain sport or topic, they should choose a school that wants them for a team or can help to supply options for learning opportunities.
“[It is important to] get to a school that has the best knowledge and has the best outcome of [a certain] major,” Collier said. “If you are an athlete, go where they want you, go where you feel comfortable, and go where your major is”
While Kovarik has not started applying for colleges, she is eager to begin the application process so she can move onto the next chapter of her life. As Kovarik continues to search for possible colleges that she could have a biological or chemistry related major, her list grows.
Among the University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Colorado Boulder and many others, Mizzou is still in the running for Kovarik as she gets closer to sending out applications. Columbia is simply her home, she said, and no one wants to give up on their own city this soon in the application process.
As Kovarik wants a larger college with lots of people, Richardson is content with a small school setting and feels that is the best way for her to learn.
“I think quality and being comfortable are two of the biggest things to look for when going to a college,” Richardson said. “Size and [location are] a big factor for me. I would rather be in school that gives you one on one time with a teacher than being in a lecture hall with over 200 other students.”
Everyone is different in the way they learn and the experiences they want to have while in college. By knowing and trusting themselves to make the right decision about a college that is best for them, students can make a smooth and comfortable transition that feels right and will last, later leading them to a career they love.
“If you feel like there’s a better college for you out of state then go out of state,” Richardson said. “Don’t wait or stay somewhere because of someone or something that’s hindering you, just go.”
What college are you considering?