A College Visit - Is The Excused Absence Worth The Hassle?

A College Visit - Is The Excused Absence Worth The Hassle?
Visit Campus on gray background

Paper Is The Problem

I'm a high school counselor. My school is way behind in remediation of their documents into digital formats. So much of what we use still needs to be filled out by hand, which is hard for students to do, especially for field trips and college visits. We want them to attend these events, but we don't make it easy for them or their guardians. Current Seniors and Juniors in my county have never not had a personal computer. By the time they were in first grade, Google had already launched their pilot program for school issued Chromebooks. They've been doing class work, projects, homecoming voting, etc. all online their entire educational career.

So, why are we still making them and their parents fill out paper forms? Especially for things as simple as going on a college visit?

College Visit Request Form Remediation Plan

My plan is to change the traditional media College Visit Request Form into a user centered digital document that is easy to reproduce and distribute to our student body. The main goal of the original document is for the student to show they have a confirmed official college visit. I intend to keep that goal, just remove the barrier of having to physically, in person present this document to a school counselor or attendance clerk. I'll focus on elements in Dr. Lucas's The Art and Science of Design in Technical Writing and Multimodal Approaches in Technical Writing to guide my planning and research process.


Having a digital document that is capable of being read to its users and translated to another language will help students and their guardians. Many of my students come from backgrounds where English is not the primary language spoken at home. Currently, my school does not offer this form in any language but English.

Users of this form are most likely using a Chromebook or a cell phone to complete. When I create this digital form, I need to make sure that I test that it works on mobile platforms. The goal is to make signing up for college visits easy and hassle free. If it doesn't work on the most prevalent platform, then I have not succeeded. I have only created more of a problem.

Mode Selection & Interactivity

I know I want a calendar box for students to choose the date of their visit, an upload section where they can upload a screenshot of their college visit confirmation, a section of where they state which college they are visiting, and a drop down of counselor choices so the school counseling department has a record of what colleges students are visiting. I'll add a graphic with the rules around what constitutes an official college visits. A hyperlink to questions to ask while on a college visit would also be appropriate to add to this form.

User Experience

I think for this project, something in line with a google form maybe the best option. People are familiar with google forms and it has the ability to use all the features I wanted listed above. It would be easy to send out to parents and students. We could add it to the school counseling hub on our school's homepage.

End Goal

Hopefully, with this adjustment, we will see a rise in college-bound Seniors and Juniors taking advantage of using their two free excused absences to visit colleges. This will also provide us with more data on what type of student is attending college visits and how we can help more get to colleges to visit them.

Bryanna Kerbuski

Bryanna Kerbuski

Professional Student. Rugby Enthusiast.