Achievers Visit Out of State Universities

Earlier this month, for the first time since the pandemic, the Achievers Program was able to host its annual summer college tour experience. 23 students from Bridgewater, Elizabeth, Fanwood, Scotch Plains, Summit, and West Orange enthusiastically hopped onto the large bus stationed in front of the Summit YMCA, ready to embark on a journey they will never forget.


During the course of four days and three nights, students visited six universities in Delaware, DC, and Maryland. These universities included; Coppin State University, Delaware State University, George Washington University, Howard University, Loyola University, and the University of Delaware.

For many of the students, it was their first-time visiting schools outside of New Jersey and being away from home for an extended period. It is no secret that both factors contribute to the hesitancy students feel when signing up. The college tour is designed for students to experience future options, independence, enjoy a mini vacation, and to get an overall sense of what college is like.


Students came from various towns, meaning not everyone knew each other. Some had to face the challenge of rooming with a stranger. Each campus was in a different city and environment, which allowed students to analyze what type of settings they feel most comfortable in. Being in a new atmosphere with peers their age also helped students develop socialization skills that they can use both now and when they are ready for college.

Another important aspect of the summer tour is that we traditionally visit Historically Black College’s and/or Universities (HBCU’s). In the tri-state area there is only one HBCU (Lincoln University). For many of our African American students visiting a HBCU was the highlight of there trip.

“I decided to go on the college tour because I wanted to visit Howard University. Howard University has been my dream school since I was a little girl. I enjoyed the campus and how it was in Washington DC, because it felt city like, but not too big. Additionally, I like how Howard is one of the top HBCU’s.” – Vanessa, rising Junior at Summit High School.

Making sure students were engaged and having fun was important. Of course, visiting out of state universities was the purpose of the trip, but making sure students received a well-rounded experience was a priority. Besides college visits, students did a walking tour of downtown DC, spent a night at Main Event for arcade games, laser tag and bowling. They used the pool and fitness center at the hotel and did a brief team building activity. This trip gave students an opportunity to see a different part of the country and experience potential options for their future.

There are no other programs in or around the community that go on out of state tours, making this is a rare opportunity for all students. Students left the tour wishing it was longer and anticipating the next one. More importantly, they walked off the bus with a newly discovered look of purpose and accomplishment.


Learn more and stay up to date on upcoming Achievers events and programs at the Summit Area YMCA.




In 1886, we were founded as the Young Men's Christian Association, but today, we are The Y. An association that values, and is made stronger by, its diverse people. We stand for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility — For a better us. We are committed to creating equal opportunity for all regardless of gender, age, disability, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive culture in which our four core values — responsibility, honesty, caring and respect — are integral to everyday operations.

Each year, as one of the area’s leading 501(c)3 charitable organizations, the Summit Area YMCA serves more than 15,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the New Jersey communities of Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Millburn, New Providence, Short Hills, Springfield, Stirling and Summit. Our history is rooted in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those in need.