Not enough days


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As the Class of 2023 is preparing for their futures, they are visiting and applying for colleges. These college visits can stack up quickly, potentially leading to difficulties meeting Memorial’s attendance requirements.

Kelsi Seltenreich, Managing Editor

Now that the beginning of the school year has passed, the Class of 2023 is learning how to balance college applications with classwork and extracurricular activities. On top of these tasks, seniors must visit university campuses to feel out the schools and try to decide where to spend the next chapter of their lives.

At Edmond Memorial High School (EMHS), seniors are granted four exempt absences for college visits. While this is helpful, and better than receiving none at all, it is definitely not enough.

Four days for the whole year doesn’t necessarily mean four visits. If a student wants to visit Pace University in New York City, New York, that would take three of the four visit days (one day to travel there, one day for the visit, and one day to travel back). While a student could use the weekends for long-distance visits in attempt to only miss one day of school per visit, flights and hotels usually cost significantly less Monday-Thursday, meaning a Friday through Sunday trip makes a bigger dent in their bank account.

Even if students are able to not miss school for travel days, only visiting four colleges doesn’t work for everyone. The majority of students are able to apply fully online, but there are certain majors within the performing arts that have much more complex application processes. For example, prospective Musical Theatre majors have to academically apply to the college; submit a series of acting, singing and dance videos called “prescreens;” and then if they pass through the prescreens they have an in-person audition at the school. With these students needing to travel to the college campus to both try-out and tour, four exempt absences simply are not enough.

Other selective programs like music and dance majors have similar issues. People in the performing arts tend to apply to around 15 to 30 schools to ensure they are accepted somewhere. Due to this competitive selection process, students need to travel to the schools they pass their video submissions at for the second audition.

Travelling to so many schools, students rack up absences very quickly. With the absence policy being a student automatically flunks a course if they have missed 10 or more times, missing for college visits can take a toll.

The threat of not being able to graduate if a student has too many unexcused absences can lead to many unfortunate circumstances. Students may go to school sick, spreading germs and not being able to focus in class, just to fulfill the attendance requirement. Students may also choose to not visit or audition for schools if they have already used their four exempt college visit days, causing them to miss out on opportunities.

EMHS should offer more than four exempt absences for college visits. Every student does not have to utilize each of these days, but it would be a huge help for the seniors that need it.

Contact Kelsi Seltenreich at [email protected]