Student travels to 13 colleges in a week


After 13 college visits in eight states and one national park during Spring Break, junior Presley Shelton checked one more national park off her bucket list, the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, North Dakota. Her bucket list is to visit all 59 before she graduates college. 

“We have been to 22 out of 59 national parks,” Shelton said. “One of those was on my trip. We were supposed to go to two more but the activities were not open.”

Her mother went on the trip with her. She planned the trip after Shelton told her what she wanted in a college. She plans to attend college in the north due to her love of snow. 

“Snow is my favorite weather,” Shelton said, “so we mainly looked at northern colleges.” 

The goal of the trip was to me Shelton narrow down the schools she was considering to attend. Her mother and her looked for two specific characteristics at each school, safety and churches.

“My mom and I looked for two things in a college,” Shelton said. “We looked for women jogging alone, so we knew it was safe enough to feel comfortable. We also looked for churches. Some places were lacking churches, so that knocked them off my list.” 

Before going to each college Shelton would research the school. She learned their colors, mascot and traditions. 

“This summer we should go see a few more on my way to Nashville for FCCLA nationals,” Shelton said.

Most days they were in the car for at least four hours. 

“We listened to a lot of music, played 20 questions and kept up with our March Madness brackets,” Shelton said.

When they were about an hour away from the last college of the day, Shelton usually found a hotel for her and her mom to stay the night at and a restaurant. 

Shelton can not pick a favorite part of the trip. Although she saw a lot of wildlife.

“The wildlife was amazing,” Shelton said. “We got stopped because bison were crossing the road to graze at the national park. There was also a fox and pheasant that crossed the road.”

The trip taught Shelton and her mom many lessons such as keeping track of their gas

“I learned to always fill up your gas when you are about to go through the mountains because my mom and I almost ran out,” Shelton said. “Our range hit zero when we were ten miles away from the nearest gas station.”

They made it to the gas station before the reserve tank ran out. 

Overall Shelton had enjoyed her trip. Although she realized how difficult leaving her family will be. 

“I loved spending all that time with my mom,” Shelton said. “The colleges were beautiful.”