A View of the World
College Road Trip Day 8: Richmond
Visit: University of Richmond
, Richmond, VA
Formal presentation by a rising Senior (very polished) - Photos here
- Founded as Baptist seminary in 1830, became Richmond College in 1840. In 1970s merged with girls college (Westhampton college)
- 3,000 undergrad
- 23% of color
- Avg class size 16
- 8:1 student to teacher ratio
- All profs teach, 98% have terminal degree
- 5 colleges (Undergrads can take classes at Law school)
- All first years in college of arts & sciences. (All Gen Ed in this college) No major declaration until soph
- Academic advisor starts summer before fresh yr
- Business college focused on Entrepreneurship
- Leadership college (1st undergrad in US) requires 2nd app soph yr
- Experiential learning thru Community Service, all students involved
- Downtown campus provides outreach to community
- Internships available for all students (not required for most majors)
- DC Initiative before Sr. year live & work w/ UR alums in DC
- Undergrad research all majors
- 200 students on campus in summer
- Study Abroad 58% participate
- 75 programs in 45 countries, 1-2 semesters possible
- 92% students live on campus
- First yr is single gender hall
- Div 1 sports (only Spider mascot in US)
- Off-campus Richmond, outdoors, free Richmond public transp
- 92% grads not going to grad school have job after 6 mon
- 69% receive FinAid
- $37k avg FinAid pkg
- Meets 100% of need (grants, scholarship, loans, work)
- Merit-based scholarship available
- 1 in 15 get Richmond Scholarship (12/1 deadline)
- CommonApp & UR supplement
- Need blind application
- 2 people read, questions go to committee
- Transcript, challenging classes & good grades
- AP 4-5 either credit or Advanced placement
- Essay - get your personality across
- Extracurricular activities (focus)
- One reco letter 1-2 adds OK
- 7880 apps 3100 admit 920 enroll
- 28% accepted during Early Decision
- Separate deans and stu govt between colleges
- Good grades and LSAT score guaranteed UR law school admit
- Robins largest donor: started company that makes Robitussin and ChapStick
- Speech center - video and critique your presentation
- Writing center - grammar and formatting help
- Media resource center - video/DVD for class and pleasure
- Academic skills center - tutors for all subjects
- 24 hr library access
- Students common connects campuses
- Tylers snack shop & the Cellar dining outside of dining hall (uses dining dollars)
- No ugly 70s architecture here
- Proclamation service - leads to signing. Honor Code
- All new lab equip in last 4 yrs. 89% Med school acceptance
- Standard meal plan 650 dining $ /semester + 17 meal sweeps/wk
- LEED certified dining hall
- 50% women in Sororities/30% men in frats
- No Greek houses. All students invited to participate
- 280 student groups
- Over half of students have cars
- UR shuttles get u where u want to go
- Weekends are active on campus
- Security monitored by Richmond police, Safety shuttle for women 8-2
- 17 varsity teams. Free student admission.
- All dorms have AC
- Swipe card to enter dorms
- Double room: bed desk dresser closet
- Roommate matched & floor and dorm
- Floors have 2 RAs
- Laundry in basement
- Frosh hall baths
- Upperclassman dorm lottery
- Coed by wing upperclassman
- Orientation 20 girls/20 guys per group for 4 days
Location: Richmond, VA
Departure Time: 9:30 AM
Destination: Charlotte, NC
Breakfast: Rodeway Inn (Richmond, VA)
Lunch: UR Dining Hall (Richmond, VA)
Dinner: Kabuki (Charlotte, NC)
Lodging: Comfort Inn (Charlotte, NC)
College Road Trip Day 7: George Washington
Visit: George Washington University
, Washington D.C. (Photos Here
Informal presentation by: Admissions Advisor and a rising sophomore
- 9500 undergrad students
- 6 colleges/90 majors
- All classes taught by professors
- Professors: mix of FT teachers & working professionals in DC area
- Focus on "why and how it's applied"
- Avg class size of 28, 25% under 20
- Best of small and large schools
- 33% self-identified "of color" students
- Medical and Law school on campus
- Excursions: classes in field at DC institutions. Syllabus shows where classes will be held.
- Internships: 92% of students. Helps students learn about the field they want to go into. GWork job placement tool.
- Flexible scheduling to accommodate class/internship
- Dean Seminar: freshman class to experience upperlevel classes
- Research opportunities for undergrad
- No core or open curriculum, rahter expected areas of competency to graduate in your college
- Must select a college to apply; can transfer to others when enrolled
- 1 of 9 accredited colleges of Intl Affairs in US
- 50% study abroad - anywhere in world with no conflict
- SA centers: London, Paris, Madrid, Santiago - 100 other SA groups
- All professors have office hours
- GWU Honors Program (must apply)
- Assigned an Advisor who helps you get to a major declaration
- Life Advisor helps understand college life
- House Proctors in the dorm
- Need to be a self-directed to succeed at GW. Show interest, then the college will respond.
- Dbl major or dbl minors are possible
- No auditions for performance degrees
- 400+ student groups
- MtVernon campus is the grass & brick campus (smaller class sizes)
- Campus police stations in each dorm. 3 step dorm security (entrance, security desk, elevator, room)
- Fr/So guaranteed housing Jr/Sr lottery
- 75% live on campus
- 18:1 student to teacher ratio
- Transcripts are key, rigor and grades for your school.
- AP 4&5 get course credit
- Admissions are read regionally.
- SAT or ACT
- Honors program: SAT2s required
- 2 essays: personal (about you) & why GW (relate GW to your future plans)
- 21k apps, 31% accept rate
- Interviews are encouraged
- Fixed tuition for 5 yr
- Guaranteed grants & merit scholarships
- $140mm in aid each year
- Need blind admissions - apply for finaid
- Common App & GW supplement
- J street is the Main Dining for DC campus / Ames at Mt Vernon
- $1700 food/semester: $1k is J street/Ames; $700 is GWorld 'dollars' $100/wk avg. Need to learn to budget.
- GW shuttle runs between campuses/24 hrs/12-15 min travel
- 25% Frosh live on MtVernon campus
- Coed dorms by suites mixed on floors.
- Kitchen and laundry in dorm
- You choose campus and dorm
- Classes by assigned by floor.
- All female dorm available
- 20% Greek participation
- All Greek events open to GW students
- Div 1 sports
- Honors and Engineering floors are possible for dorms
- Graduation on the Mall in front of US Capitol bldg
- Budgeting time and money are important to success at GWU
Location: Washington D.C.
Departure Time: 9:30 AM
Destination: University of Richmond
Breakfast: Quality Inn (Washington D.C.)
Lunch: Burger King (Lorton, VA)
Dinner: Chipotle (Richmond, VA)
Lodging: Rodeway Inn (Richmond, VA)
College Road Trip Day 6: Washington D.C.
A day to see the our national government buildings and memorials! Our hotel was right by a Metro subway stop, so it was our primary means of transportation. Clean and convenient (most of the time), we learned to ride the subway like regulars after a couple of trips. First stop: Capitol South, dropping us off 2 blocks from the US Capitol. We had not reserved tickets for a tour of the building, so after a short queue to get into the building (10 minutes,) we entered, were screened by security and then entered another 10 minute line to get tour tickets. The tickets were for the 12:00 tour, which was starting in 10 minutes!
The Capitol tour starts with an orientation video that overviews the Capitol building, history and purpose of Congress. Once the 7 minute video was over, we queued up in lines to meet our tour guide. Our guide was a jovial fellow named Vince. We informed us that we would not be going up to the rotunda, because the police had been called in for an incident. That was a huge let down - and I immediately Googled to find out what was going on. Turns out that a small group called GetEqual, staged an informal sit-in
. The rotunda was cleared, police called, protesters arrested, and all clear, back to business. We were delayed 5 minutes, but were able to do the whole tour - including the rotunda. It was a great tour, we learned more about the Capitol building, the history of Congress, and saw statues from each US state (each state can have 2 statues in the building.)
After the tour we had lunch in the Capitol Restaurant, along with every Boy Scout in the US. Turns out that the Boy Scouts were celebrating their 100th Jamboree in DC. They were all polite and respectful - even when hungry.
We took the underground tunnel to the Library of Congress across the street (avoiding another security station.) This was my first time here, and although you cannot entire the library proper, was impressed with the presentation of materials in the many exhibitions
. We saw an exhibition on entertainers and media, featuring Bob Hope and the USO, but also recordings and footage of 60s protest singers and performers. We also saw one of the Gutenberg Bibles on display, an original 3-volume set, 1,000 years old!
We went to the Supreme Court building (it's called the "supreme Court" in the Constitution.) Another round of security and we were able to go right up to the entrance of the court room and look inside. Little is changed here, with hard wooden seats for the gallery and lawyers. Each justice has their own personal chair, made for them by government furniture makers. This was the lowest visited building while we were there, which is too bad, because it is an important player in the balance of power.
By 3:30 it was about 100 degrees outside the all white buildings. We tried to step into the United Methodist building, (slogan: "open doors, open minds, open hearts") located right next to the Supreme Court building, but it was locked... so we headed back to the hotel room to rest and cool down.
We had dinner a a Moroccan restaurant in the DuPont Circle neighborhood. After that we went to the National Mall. It was still hot, but managed to see the following structures: Washington Monument, Jefferson Monument, WW2 Memorial and the Lincoln Monument. By the time we got to the Lincoln Monument, the sun had set and it was fully illuminated. We walked around, reading the Gettysburg Address
and Second Inaugural Address
, carved into the sides of the monument. Lincoln didn't way much, but what he said was inspiring for any age in American History.
Tired, hot and with swelling feet, we opted for a cab ride home. It was worth every inflated penny of DC cab rates.Photos here.Trip Log
Location: Washington D.C.
Departure Time: 10:30 AM
Destination: Tourist Destinations
Breakfast: Marriott (Washington D.C.)
Lunch: US Capitol Restaurant (Washington D.C.)
Dinner: Marrakesh Palace (Washington D.C.)
Lodging: Marriott Washington Wardman Park (Washington D.C.)
Labels: college, tourist, WashingtonDC
College Road Trip Day 5: Vassar & Princeton
Visit: Vassar College
, (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Presentation by Director of Admissions (Photos here
- 2,500 undergrads
- Faculty advisor until you declare a major
- 34 units to grad
- 11 units needed for a major (declare in soph yr)
- 1000 classes to choose from
- Psych, English, PolSci, Bio, Econ top majors
- Dbl major or maj/min
- 52 majors - many are multidisciplinary
- Small classes avg is 17. Major undergrad courses avg 21
- Only 6 classes have 50 students
- Registrar helps keep seats available for popular classes
- 9:1 student faculty ratio
- No course or distribution requirements
- 70% of Faculty live on campus
- 14 families in dorms
- Research opportunities - research required of faculty means undergrads are needed
- Study away (45%) most Intl
- 1 semester away is typical Jr yr.
- 3.0 gpa for study away
- Language requirement & Study away must align with maj/min
- Internships are available within 5 mil of campus
- 60% of students participate
- 8 hrs/wk minimum. Paper/journal required (this is a class)
- Transportation available for students
- 10% of internships in NYC (train 1-1/2 hrs)
- Residential campus 98% 4 yrs
- All grades are in all dorms
- No Greek or Affinity housing
- 1 of 9 single gender dorm
- Campus apts for Sr class
- 20% students are on varsity sports
- 1500 events/yr.
- 40 plays / 6-8 theatre plays/ 10 acapella groups / 2 Dance groups / 3 art studios
- All audition based performances
- 120 student groups
- 7800 apps/650 spots
- 23% admit rate
- Priority given to Early Dec (35%)
- HS transcript grades/class load/subj balance
- SAT & 2 suj test
- AP 4-5 given class credit
- What do you have that we want?
- Quality of your extracurricular
- Quantify your ability
- Teacher reco- what makes u a good student?
- Essay. Tell us about you we won't learn from other sources.
- Your Space. A little extra about you.
- Interview not needed. Alumni conversation helps you.
- 20 min to read your file, then discussed by all 10 admission advisors
- FinAid need based
- No scholarships based on ability
- 62% aid avg $39k
- Family income under 60k - no loans
- Library closes 1:30 wk 10:30 wknd
- Alum: Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, Lisa Kudrow
- Typical student goes to NYC 1-2/term for entertainment
- Fellow Group frosh yr. One upperclassman included to help navigate VC
- House fellow (faculty) for your dorm
- All buildings are locked. Student ID allows access to all dorms and your major bldg
- Parlor and comfy rooms in each dorm
- Laundry & kitchen in each dorm
- Bed desk dresser wardrobe provided
- Doubles typical for Fr/So.
- Jr/Sr guaranteed singles
- 1-2 baths per floor
- ACDC variety of foods (vegan/kosher etc) Meal plan per meal or declining points.\
Visit: Princeton University, (Princeton, NJ)
No formal visit. (Photos here
It was a 20 mile detour to see Princeton. We've seen Harvard and Yale, why not Princeton too? Another fantastic college setting. The buildings are large and architecturally interesting. We caught the last part of a tour, and while many of the things said were the same as other tours, it was the final wrap up that was interesting. Princeton has all alumni visit for graduation. They have a P-rade, starting with the oldest alums, and ending with the next graduating class. There is a really powerful bond between Princeton alums - not to say other schools don't have it, but the annual gathering makes for greater intergenerational connections and opportunities.Trip Log
Location: (Fishkill, NY)
Departure Time: 10:20 AM
Destination: Vassar College
Breakfast: Quality Inn (Fishkill, NY)
Lunch: Vassar Snack Shop (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Dinner: Michael's (DE)
Lodging: Marriott Washington Wardman Park (Washington D.C.)
College Road Trip Day 4: Brandeis & Brown
My new definition of "overwhelming": Two college tours and one college visit in one day...
Visit: Brandeis University
, Waltham, MA
Presentation by Admissions Advisor and a rising senior, followed by a tour by a rising sophomore. (Photos here
- Brandeis was founded in 1948 by a group including Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Maslov and Leonard Bernstein.
- Named after Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis.
- Focused on Academic achievement
- Research university w Small Liberal Arts College approach
- Intro Classes will be over 100 students, other classes will be under 20 students
- 235 acre campus
- Rail station on campus & Thurday-Sunday shuttle to Boston
- Guaranteed 2 yr on campus housing, but housing available all 4 yrs
- Flexible academic requirements: 32 courses to grad. No required classes, but 9 areas of study for breadth of knowledge
- Undergrad research & study abroad (45% of students go abroad)
- Typical to have 2-3 internships in 4yrs
- Brandeis grads have double the research/internships when applying for grad school
- 6 months after grad, 95% job rate (the 50% not going to grad school)
- Brandeis is looking for a fit. HS transcript is key - challenging courses and getting harder.
- Teacher recommendation - what is your class experience.
- Extracurricular- involved & leadership
- SAT/ACT req
- Essay: you control - sell yourself to the admissions team, Tell us why Brandeis is for you (internship, socjus, etc)
- 63% of students with FinAid, $28k/yr avg package
- Dorms: Freshman, 2 dedicated quads. All doubles with same or mixed-gender floors. Vote for same or mixed bathrooms (1 vote for same guarantees same). Laundry in dorms.
- Suites available for upperclass, lottery system
After the tour, a stop at the college Bookstore, then a 60 mile drive to RI.
Visit: Brown University
, Providence, RI
Presentation by Admissions Advisor and a rising junior, followed by a tour by a rising sophomore. (Photos here
- Founded in 1764. Diversity is top priority
- University with Small Liberal Arts College feel
- 5600 undergrad, 1500 grad
- Open Curriculum. Select any classes you want (and can get in to), except for your major. Approach created in 1969 by students researching curriculum.
- Architects of your own education. Students more engaged in classes they want to attend.
- Over 2k classes to choose from.
- Shopping period - 2 wks to reg/attend/drop before finalizing ur schedule
- Faculty Adv from ur field of study.
- Peer Adv so/jr help u choose based in their experience
- Letter grade or Pass/fail option for all classes. Must pass 30 classes to graduate
- 8-10 classes in your concentration. Double majors are not the norm.
- Research opportunities beginning first year.
- Undergrad Research Assistant fellowships are funded. You initiate this.
- Study abroad is available and encouraged.
- Guaranteed housing all 4 years.
- All RI public transportation is free with Brown student ID
- AP credit goes to advanced placement
- Full IB Diploma = 1 semester credit
- Self-motivation and self-direction is key to success at Brown.
- Jan 1 is admin deadline
- HS curriculum and grades are key
- Extracurricular shows range and engagement
- Recos; guidance and 2 teachers
- Personal statement: help us learn about you = sell yourself, not what others say about you.
- Interviews are recommended. All alumni interview, none on campus
- 1/3 of Early Decision are admitted
- 9.4% acceptance
- Need blind admission
- FinAid meets 100% of need, FAFSA: 60k = free; 100k = no loans; >100 = 5k loans/yr
- Reapply annually for FinAid
- 1% of classes over 100. Classes over 40 students have smaller discussion groups
- 70% of classes 20 and under
- Brown U first to implement Blue Emergency poles.
- Safe ride/ Safe walk program
- Dorms: Doubles for freshman, 6-8 students to a bathroom, laundry in dorm
- Suites available for upperclass, lottery system
- Dining: 20/12/7 or flex points.
- 10% Greek but all events are open to all
- Greek/Program houses for upperclassman
After the tour, we headed west to CT, deciding that since we were so close by, why not stop and see Yale...
Visit: Yale University, New Haven, CT
No formal visit. (Photos here
Why didn't I ever hear about the beautiful Yale campus? I thought UChicago was something, but this is fantastic. Anna said "Even the ugly 70's architecture buildings are good looking here" and she is right! The blend of historical New Haven and idyllic Yale structures makes this my number one campus experience.Trip Log
Location: Lexington, MA
Departure Time: 9:30 AM
Destination: Fishkill, NY
Breakfast: Quality Inn (Lexington, MA)
Lunch: Taco Bell (East Walpole, MA)
Dinner: Sal's Pizza (Fishkill, NY)
Lodging: Quality Inn (Fishkill, NY)
College Road Trip Day 3: Boston
Boston, MA! Birthplace of independence, and home to some of the worse drivers in the USA. (I lived here for 1-1/2 years, I have lots of experience with them...)
We were tourists today. We drove in from Springfield and landed in downtown Boston at 10AM. We headed for the Commons and parked the car and started to walk - the Freedom Trail
. This pedestrian "red line" weaves throughout Boston highlighting the many places where the independent ideals were born, developed or thrown overboard. It was a beautiful day to walk around Boston - clear blue skies, warm with a bit of a breeze. The walking tour takes about 2 hours to complete, and by the end, we wanted nothing more than to sit down and cool off. The best way to do that is the "T" - Boston's great mass transit system.
We took the T out to Harvard Square, to join the throngs who want to rub up against academic history. (We did our best to avoid the many homeless who just wanted to rub up against you... ;-) The Harvard campus is HUGE! We estimated that between the main campus, law school and medical school you could probably fit the Oberlin and Amherst campuses with room to spare. This was not a school visit, but provided a nice level set against the schools we are visiting. But there was a school that is on the 'possible' list that we did visit: Tufts University.
Tufts is a Boston institution tucked into the NE corner of Cambridge, in a little neighborhood on a Boston hill. Turns out that the neighborhood IS Tufts - they own most of the houses surrounding the campus. Tufts was founded in 1852, and from the looks of it, the university is preparing for their 150th birthday in 2012 with many renovated buildings. But even with the construction, it is a beautiful campus setting, with a large front lawn reminiscent of the front lawn of my alma mater, Wheaton College (IL). The Admissions team must expect drive by visits, because they had a box attached to the building with a 4-color map, self-tour booklet, and registration card you could fill out. I'm glad we did!
We ended the day visiting our friends Mary and Mike Barwell. They are friends from Cincinnati that now live up in Concord, NH. We met at Woodman's Clam Shack in Essex, on the North Shore of Boston. When I was in seminary in the late 80's Woodman's was drive up place that had good, cheap seafood. Well now it has expanded greatly, to include sit-down dining, a raw bar and a dessert shack around back, but you still get your good, cheap food on paper plates served in a cardboard box like in 1988. Glad some things never really change in New England!
Visit: Tufts University, Cambridge, MA
No formal visit.Trip Log
Location: Westfield, MA
Departure Time: 8:00 AM
Breakfast: Econo Lodge (Westfield, MA)
Lunch: Brueggman Bagels (Boston, MA)
Dinner: Woodman's (Essex, MA)
Lodging: Quality Inn (Lexington, MA)
Labels: Boston, college, tourist
College Road Trip Day 2: Amherst
This was a dedicated travel day. We took the southern New York route along I86/NY17. This is a very rural part of NY, very reminiscent of Tennessee or Kentucky. Along the way we passed the following:
- Zippo Lighter/Case Knife Museum
- Soaring Museum
- Corning Glass Museum
- Soccer Hall of Fame
- Baseball Hall of Fame
- Iroquois Museum
We didn't stop at any of these, but I was simply amazed at the rather out-of-the-way location for these places.
I did want to stop at one town along the way, Endicott, NY. My wife's maiden name is Endicott, so I thought it would be interesting for Anna to see this town that has a family name connection. (No other genealogical interest that we are aware of...) One of the hallmarks of this town is that it is the "Birthplace of IBM
" and was the center of R&D for the company for over 50 years. Well, turns out that IBM polluted the place like crazy in the first half of the 20th century, got called on it, sold the site and left town in 2002. Today, the town is a shell of its former self. We went to the Endicott Visitors Center
, only to be greeted by a sign saying "Closed Due to An Emergency.
" We decided to support the town by eating lunch at the Wendy's and filling up the RAV4 with a full tank of gas. It was a relief to leave the town - the boarded up Main Street looked contagious.
We made it to Massachusetts with plenty of daylight. After we checked into the hotel, we headed up to Amherst to visit Amherst College. (Photos here
) This was a drive-by visit - no admissions tour or information provided by the college. We drove around the entire campus, parked the SUV and walked about, talking pictures and being generally amazed by the campus. (Statues of alums Henry Ward Beecher and Robert Frost are pretty inspiring.) The town is a block away, and it is a pretty typical college town with bookstores and coffee shops, bars and restaurants. I was all-around impressed with the place.
Visit: Amherst College, Amherst, MA
No formal visit.Trip Log
Location: Erie, PA
Departure Time: 10:0 AM
Destination: Amherst College
Breakfast: Quality Inn (Erie, PA)
Lunch: Wendy's (Endicott, NY)
Dinner: Amherst Creperie (Amherst, MA)
Lodging: Econo Lodge (Westfield, MA)
College Road Trip Day 1: Oberlin
Visit: Oberlin College
, Oberlin, OH (photos here
No formal presentation: Q&A with Admissions Advisor, a Conserv student, a transfer student, a Chemistry professor and Financial Aid Advisor
- 9:9:9 credit hours in three different areas (math/science, social sciences, humanities) and 2 diff depts within each area. AP courses with a 5 on the test will apply to these requirements.
- Academic advisor. Meet 2x in first 2 days.
- Profs teach all classes
- Experimental college taught by students
- (1 to 3 credits possible)
- No summer term on campus - but research opportunities are available.
- Social science research methodology combined with practical research. Sr honors thesis/yr long project paper and presentation. No required Sr capstone project
- Non music majors have spaces in music classes, as well as non-major musicial groups (choral, winds, strings)
- 1 credit music lessons for all students (50% of all Obie students were in HS music)
- 3 yrs on campus residence
- CoOps. 4 living & 6 dining (sep org) requires 3-5 hrs/wk
- First yr, Lang or program houses
- Fill out form, then matched to roommate. First year houses are all doubles.
- Endowment $660MM
- FinAid 100% of stated need
- 75-80% of students receive grant&scholarship ($52mm for Fall 2010)
- $20k loan avg upon graduation
- 33% admit rate
- Complete the CommonApp, the Obie supplement
- Oberlin is looking at your school, curriculum rigor, GPA, ACT/writing (sat2 optional)
- Supplement answers the question - how will u fit into our community?
- Campus and Community and intertwined. Great relationship. Everything is withing biking distance (even the Target and WalMart)
- Spotty AT&T service
- Bikes are big. Eco-awareness is huge.
Departure Time: 5:50 AM
Destination: Oberlin College
Breakfast: McDonalds (IL Tollway Oasis)
Lunch: Subway (Oberlin, OH)
Dinner: TGIFriday's (Erie, PA)
Lodging: Quality Inn (Erie, PA)