About American College Tours
American College Tours makes college visits affordable, convenient, and fun!
We began in 2008 with sixteen students touring Central Texas colleges in two vans. Founded by Teresa Herrin while she was still teaching AP Government and AP Macroeconomics at Bellaire High School (Houston ISD), our very humble beginnings have grown into a full-service college tour company to satisfy increased student demand.
Throughout the transformation, our mission has remained exactly the same: Help each student make the best college match. As Frank Sachs, former president of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, famously stated:
College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won.
During Teresa's nineteen years of teaching more than 3,000 highly motivated seniors, she witnessed first-hand the stress of college admissions -- deciding where to apply, as well as where to accept. While some students kept their process private, many others shared with her the day-to-day journey. Those interactions prompted the original 2008 tour. In fact, behind each type of tour we offer is the personal story of one or more students.
How Our Backstory Influences Our Company
Students may apply to travel with us from any school or home school in America. We allow individual registration, not just group registration from a particular school or organization.
Most student travel companies rely on teachers, performing arts directors, and counselors to recruit their students for a group trip. While we love customizing tours for schools and organizations, most of our work is with individual students in search of an affordable, fun way to visit colleges.
Allowing individual registration is important to us because we do not want a student's participation to be dependent upon whether or not an adult on their campus takes the initiative to organize a trip.
Backstory: While sponsoring student organizations, like Junior State of America, Teresa often chaperoned sponsor-less students from other schools to state and national conferences. Those experiences underscored how often a student's extracurricular opportunities are related to the school they attend. We are dedicated to the participation of all interested students.
Completely unique to American College Tours are our Concierge Visits. We provide a safe, personalized service for the individual student who needs to visit a specific college with short notice. After greeting the student at the airport with a chauffeur, our program staff -- retired teachers or college faculty/staff -- will coordinate all aspects of their college visit and city/neighborhood tour. Most of these visits involve small cohorts of four to eight students.
Backstory #1: Concierge visits are designed to keep students from spending the night in university hospital lobbies -- literally. A few years ago, Teresa actually suggested that a student spend the night in the hospital lobby of the University of Virginia. After being accepted, Daniel needed to attend a special preview weekend. His parents had business conflicts. University housing was unavailable, and hotels refused registration to a 17 year old. Having spent a week at UVA, Teresa remembered the hospital adjacent to the campus. As a last resort, she suggested the safest place might be spending the night in the hospital lobby. He did, and Daniel made a confident decision to become a Cavalier.
Backstory #2: Another story does not have such a happy ending. On one of the most stressful days in a senior's life -- May 1st, a student and her boyfriend came by Teresa's classroom after school. The student was distraught. Within a couple of hours, she had to decide between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M. The choice was very difficult because Texas A&M was a known, but she had never had the opportunity to visit UW. How could she compare a known with an unknown? Of course, the only comfort Teresa could provide was that both schools would provide an excellent education. The next morning, the student was in tears. She had declined UW's offer. Now, she regretted her decision. To no avail, Teresa called the UW Admission Office on her behalf. They were kind, but understandably firm.
Concierge Visits help students make one of life's most difficult decisions with confidence.