Westerville News & Public Opinion

Otterbein University

Guidance counselors pedal in for 'pit stop' tour, lunch


It's summer break for most Otterbein University students, but there will still be some learning happening on the campus this week.

For the past several years, a group of high school guidance counselors -- largely from private schools -- from around the country have united in the summer to tour a region of the country on their bicycles.

This year, the group chose Ohio, and will visit Case Western Reserve University, Oberlin College, the College of Wooster, Kenyon College, Denison University, Otterbein University, Ohio Wesleyan University and Ohio State University.

The tour group will stay the night at Denison before making its way to Otterbein Saturday, July 19, where it will make a brief stop before continuing on its schedule.

Otterbein Director of Admission Ben Shoemaker said hosting the tour is an opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from each other.

"What's amazing about admission and college counselors coming from high schools is that there really is a great support network out there amongst one another," Shoemaker said. "We're here to support each other; we're here to learn from each other.

"This is an opportunity for us to exchange ideas and work together and hear what they have to say about their students and their families. It really helps us continue to build that relationship."

Shoemaker said the group sent emails to various Ohio schools, hoping to make a stop on their tour.

"They essentially contacted us through this network and said, 'is there any opportunity for us to see your campus?' " he said. "Otterbein, along with a few others, said they'd be more than happy to host them."

For Otterbein, the visit is a chance to represent both what it has to offer and what Ohio colleges and universities in general can offer.

"They're going to visit a number of different schools from Ohio, and they're going to get a better understanding of what Ohio has to offer," he said. "It's an opportunity for them to better appreciate Ohio and better appreciate our schools."

Otterbein will serve as a "pit stop" for the tour, and Shoemaker said he wanted to show the group as much as he could without wearing them down.

"I thought about giving them a long tour, but I thought their legs might be tired," he said with a laugh. "We'll give them an opportunity to rest and give them lunch, and at the same time, we'll probably talk a little about the university and about what makes Otterbein distinct and who we are."