by Dr. Elisabetta Zengaro
Communications Specialist, Division of Community Affairs

High School seniors from across Alabama visited The University of Alabama for a firsthand experience of college life and the application process during fall Vision Days from September–October.

“It’s a good experience,” said Samya Jones, senior from Hamilton High School. “I’m learning new things, and I get to learn more information about the campus.”

Sponsored by the Division of Community Affairs, Vision Days is a campus-wide effort focusing on the college readiness of high school students from rural and underrepresented areas in Alabama.

Led by Dr. Daniela Susnara, director of planning and assessment for community engagement, the four-year program is designed to prepare high schoolers for the college experience through curated tours and information sessions that vary according to grade level.

Students began the day with a scavenger hunt, a walking tour across campus that introduced students to UA resources through visiting campus sites, such as the Gorgas Library and Honors College.

“Honestly, I’m probably leaning towards just coming here … because I was thinking about going to Bevill State … but it looks like I’m probably going to just go here for my first college years and just go for my full four years,” said David Madison, senior at Hubbertville High School. “It’s just the people, the community, the food, everything, just everything just looks nice.”

After the walking tour, students heard presentations from University admissions and financial aid staff, which many high school participants said was their most important takeaway from Vision Days.

“They’re all fun and nice, and then it honestly does just really help because the college application process is super complicated and getting to know the school and seeing if I really want to go here and then learning more about how to apply and all the different aspects of it is really helpful,” said Zoe Shore, senior from Central High School.

Vision Days’ campus visits for seniors are also designed to prepare high schoolers for life beyond college. Therefore, students ended the day with discussion panels that addressed opportunities within the Honors College, graduate and law school, and scholarships.

“I think it’s amazing,” said Seigfried Williams, choir director for Greene County High School and one of the advisors present. “It just gives them exposure. It kind of gives them an idea about what they want to do after high school.”

“A lot of them haven’t seen like an actual college campus … so I think it’s good for them to see overall the experience of it,” added Ashley Holman, school counselor at Sulligent High School.

For fall 2022, 579 seniors from 19 high schools across Alabama participated in Vision Days.