DR. BOBBY LOPEZ — Importance of college visits works out many years later

Published 12:03 am Saturday, December 25, 2021

One of the most important activities school districts and charters can provide their prospective high school graduates is exposure to a variety of colleges and universities.

The best way to do this is through college visits. As a high school student, I can remember classroom teachers involved in a spirited rivalry between the University of Texas and Texas A&M University. At the time, I knew that the University of Texas was located in Austin, but I had no idea where Texas A&M was located.

When I was in fifth grade, a chance encounter led to a visit to the University of Houston. My oldest sister drove a neighbor to visit her son in Houston and I tagged along on the drive.

We took advantage of visiting UH at the time. I remember a large metal statue of a cougar at the university center, which left a big impression on me as a young 10-year-old.

A few years later when I was in ninth grade, our high school band played at the Astrodome during a University of Houston football game. This solidified my decision to attend the University of Houston. I truly believe that my initial visit to UH was a fortunate stroke of serendipity.

My high school years passed quickly, and as a senior, I was firm on my intent to attend UH and not Texas A&M or the University of Texas. In retrospect, I know my reasoning was because I had only visited one university, the University of Houston with its bold red and white colors.

I had never visited either of the other universities or any other college for that matter. It is important to say that I do not regret my decision by any means. The education I received at UH was no doubt stellar.

However, I do believe that for our students who are about to embark on the next phase of their educational careers, a well-rounded outlook on a variety of colleges and universities is critical.

These college visits allow students to gain perspective on what is the best fit for them to spend their college years.

They have the opportunity to ask questions, meet college personnel and future students, and decide if the onsite visits affect their initial thoughts and ideas about the university.

This year, Bob Hope School has taken our students to various colleges including the University of Houston, Texas A&M University-College Station, Texas A&M-Galveston and Lamar University.

Additionally, we have had a number of colleges visit our high school such as Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar State College-Port Arthur, Lamar University, Sam Houston State University and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

It is always a plus when we take a group of students to visit a university and one of our former Bob Hope School graduates is there to assist with the tour.

This has a tremendous impact on our students.

Students need to do their research, they need to get their questions answered and they need to be as well-informed as possible on any major decision they are about to undertake.

This includes decisions about institutions of higher learning. If students do this, they will more than likely be successful in following through on their educational plan.

Dr. Bobby Lopez, CEO, has served as superintendent of the Bob Hope School since 2010. Contact him at bobby.lopez@bobhopeschool.org or 409-983-3244.