Affordable Campus Tours for Prospective College Students

With fall right around the corner, it’s time for students to gear up for the next school year. It can be an exciting and busy time for those finishing high school and focusing on a new chapter in their education. For many juniors and seniors, that means finding a college suiting their academic interests and career inklings.
It can be difficult to find the time for a college visit, whether the school is a two-hour drive away or a road trip to another state. Another factor is cost—what if deserving students cannot afford traveling expenses to visit their college of interest? This question prompted Edina High School student Grayson Wright to start a nonprofit organization he calls Tours for All.
“I had worked with another nonprofit, [it] was for ACT tutoring that was free [for Edina High School students]. My mom and I came up with the idea going off that,” says the now incoming senior. Inspired by his tutor who started the nonprofit for free ACT preparation, Grayson created the idea of funding college campus visits for those who could not afford them.
The thought first took form in Grayson’s Passion Project, an assignment where Edina sophomore students write a research paper on an issue they feel is worthy of attention. “[At] the Passion Fair I introduced my project, and then the idea of making a website came after,” he says.

After Grayson presented his Tours for All idea at his school’s Passion Fair, he and his mother, Shelly Wright, took to turning the idea into a reality. They filed for a 501(c)(3) and began creating a website. “[He] had to write all this content and then … make sure it could all go live,” says Shelly. The website launched last summer.

Donations are a primary focus for Grayson, who contacted family and friends via email and handwritten letter for contributions. His outreach yielded a positive response with numerous donations. Grayson hopes to also partner with businesses to raise more money. He’s advocated for Tours for All at College Nights, which are college information sessions held at Edina High School for the parents of junior students.

Tours for All is set to give out its first scholarships to Edina High School students. “I’m working with one of our counselors at our school. [They’re] helping me with the process of deciding who the first couple of students will be,” Scholarships will be awarded based on achievement, financial need and funding resources.

“[Grayson’s] looking for students who wouldn’t have this opportunity,” Shelly says. Scholarship amounts vary with traveling distance and the applicant’s proposed travelling budget. Students can also take advantage of Tours for All volunteer and fundraising opportunities.
While the nonprofit organization currently focuses on the Edina community, Grayson hopes that Tours for All will reach a larger audience of students in need. “Depending how much we grow, [we’ll] branch out to neighboring schools,” he says. Grayson aspires to reaching students outside of Minn., providing college tours for all across
the nation.