by Michael Burch
For young people today making that first college decision it can almost be called a traumatic experience for the student and his or her family. A key part of deciding which college to go to is finding a good college fit. The best way for families to get firsthand information is to visit colleges in person. Reading a college catalog, websites and brochures will not tell you the whole story about your perspective school. College visits are the way to go but they can be expensive.
One solution that may help students living in our area make this decision is called the College Tour Program that Pastor Joe Nock of Second Antioch Baptist Church has run for many years now. Pastor Nock has over 20 years of experience in ministry as a preacher ,teacher,counselor, conference speaker and mentor. Since 2001. He has been the Senior Pastor of Second Antioch Baptist Church. Pastor Nock found the time to sit down with me and answer some questions about this great program.
Parkside Journal: Pastor Nock where did the idea to develop a College Tour program for the families of Philadelphia come from?
Pastor Nock: I developed my College Tour program after attending a College Tour as a Chaperone with a group of Presbyterian Church’s in Philadelphia. I saw areas where I could improve the tour experience and to expand it to twice a year, so I started a tour with the sponsorship of Calvary Baptist Church in West Philadelphia.
Parkside Journal: How long have you been running the College Tour program? Pastor Nock: I have been running the tour for eighteen years.
Parkside Journal: Are these tours open to residents all over Philadelphia or just in West Philadelphia?
Pastor Nock: High School Students have attended our tours from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.
Parkside Journal: During the Tour who do students meet with at the university, is it students, administrators, or instructors?
Pastor Nock: During most tours we meet with the Admissions Department, Tour Guides, and former students of our tours when available. Occasionally we will meet with administrators, special program directors, and instructors if we have contacts at the schools
Parkside Journal: What kind of follow up takes place after the visit?
Pastor Nock: A few of our chaperones will stay in contact with the High School Juniors and Seniors. They will also help them with applications, grant and scholarship information, and advice to parents regarding the Financial Aid process.
Parkside Journal: These are overnight trips right? Where do students sleep during the trip, in dorms at the colleges or in local hotels?
Pastor Nock: Students sleep in deluxe hotels with only two students to a room, unless they request otherwise.
Parkside Journal: You must have help or chaperones who go with you, are they members of Second Antioch also?Pastor Nock: Second Antioch Baptist Church has retired educators that serve as chaperones and parents are offered a discount to serve as chaperones. They are not required to room with their children and typically share a room with other adult chaperones
Parkside Journal: Do you visit primarily Historically Black Universities?
Pastor Nock: We do not restrict our tours to only Historically Black Universities. It is our goal to provide tours that will give the students an opportunity to experience a variety of institutions of higher learning.
Parkside Journal: How many children do you usually take on a typical trip?
Pastor Nock: Recently, we have been averaging twenty students per tour. In the past, we have taken up to two buses of students on the tours.
Parkside Journal: Can family members accompany their children on the Tour?
Pastor Nock: Adult Family members are allowed to accompany their children on the tour if they are willing to serve as a chaperone.
Parkside Journal: What about outcomes, do the students who attend the Tours end up enrolling in some of these universities? If so, do you have any percentages?
Pastor Nock: We have many students who have attended the Tours that have been accepted during their visits. The biggest challenge is the affordability of the Universities. Most students attend the tours and often end up at local Universities. Often times, students wait too late to apply for school and this prevents them from earning scholarships. We sponsor a Fall tours primarily for Seniors and upper classmen and Spring Tours fall all students in order to help them gain exposure to the College experience.
Parkside Journal: What is the cost to attend the College tour?
Pastor Nock: The cost is approximately $250.00 for three days and scholarships are available. It includes most meals, lodging, motor coach, and security at the hotels.
Parkside Journal: Do you have dates planned for the 2017 college tour yet?
Pastor Nock: Our tours typically take place at the end of October for the Fall Tour and the beginning of the Easter Week for the Spring Tour.
Parkside Journal: Thank you Pastor Nock for taking the time to talk to our readers. The Fall College Tour orientation will take place on September 24th. at 11amat Second Antioch Baptist Church. For more information call 215-387-6774.