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Women's College Road Trip

ChristiGabiChristiGabi Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
My daughter and I are planning a road trip to visit women's colleges at the end of August. We live in Colorado, so are going to fly in and visit as many as possible in about 8 days. We'll probably start in Boston and visit Simmons and Wellesley, then hit the road. We'd like to see Smith, Mount Holyoke, Bay Path, Cedar Crest, and Bryn Mawr. Then we'll fly home from Philadelphia.

Here's my big question: We have never been to this part of the country. How would you recommend traveling from place to place? Out west, we'd simply rent a car, but I realize we are going to be in places where a car may be more of a hindrance. Can we get to all of these places by train?

We welcome any recommendations you have!

Christi
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Replies to: Women's College Road Trip

  • AmyBeth68AmyBeth68 Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member
    Maybe someone that lives in Boston can chime in here but my recommendation would be to fly into Boston and uber to your hotel (allow some time to enjoy the city if you can rather than a whirlwind). Boston is one of my favorite cities in the US. I'd visit Simmons first since it's in the city. I believe you can take commuter rail to Wellesley from Boston and then stay there for the day/night. I'd rent a car in Wellesley because you will be best to have it for the rest of your trip. From Wellesley head to the Mount Holyoke & Bay Path visits. Then I would make the rather longish drive to Cedar Crest and from Cedar Crest not a terribly long drive to Bryn Mawr although it might be tough to do them in the same day, I wouldn't recommend that. From there you can drop your car at Philadelphia Airport when you head home. Maybe someone else has a better option? I suppose you could always rent your car in Boston the day you're driving out or even at the airport but Boston traffic can be a bit crazy and I'd prefer to use the T and public transportation. By the way great colleges....we visited some Women's Colleges this past year. Some of these campuses are absolutely gorgeous.
  • ChristiGabiChristiGabi Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    Thanks! I'm hoping we can spend some time exploring Boston too, but I'm not sure we can make it work. We're squeezing in as much as we can between the last day of her summer job and the first day of her senior year. If she ends up at one of these schools, we'll have plenty of future opportunities to visit!
  • Ironmom1Ironmom1 Registered User Posts: 115 Junior Member
    I would fly into Boston and plan to spend half a day seeing Simmons and half a day at Wellesley which you can reach by Uber or commuter rail. Wellesley is a very close suburb of Boston and Simmons is basically in Downtown Boston - near BU, Fenway Park, etc.. Rent a car and drive to Springfield, MA and see Bay Path in the afternoon. Spend the night in Northampton, MA and visit Smith one day and Mt. Holyoke the next. Drive from Western MA to Bryn Mary in Pennsylvania. I'm not sure how far away Cedar Crest is from the Philadelphia area but this would be my suggested itinerary. Have fun!
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 13,293 Senior Member
    One thing you won't be used to is the humidity at the end of August in Boston and Philly. Take a lot of breaks and crank the AC.
  • GourmetmomGourmetmom Registered User Posts: 2,576 Senior Member
    I think it will be much more convenient to rent a car at Logan and drive to all of the colleges. Go to Simmons first - that maybe your only (very slight) parking challenge - Wellesley is in the burbs and has lots of parking lots. The other schools are really best accessible by car and parking will not be a problem.
  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 21,312 Senior Member
    I completely agree with Gourmetmom. I would rent a car at Logan. You can take the T to Simmons if you wish, but from then on you'll definitely want a car, Public transportation is normally the way to go in Boston itself, but if all you are doing is visiting Simmons then going out to Wellesley, you might as well drive.

    Does your D have any idea of what she might be interested in studying, and what her stats might be? I would not normally think of a student who was interested in Wellesley, MHC, Smith, and Bryn Mawr having Bay Path or Cedar Crest on their radar.

  • Sue22Sue22 Registered User Posts: 4,361 Senior Member
    I agree with @Gourmetmom and @Consolation and I'll add, I would take a day to see Simmons and, if you have extra time tour Boston and/or Cambridge but then leave in the morning for Wellesley. You'll be going against commuter traffic so the drive shouldn't be bad. Tour Wellesley, have lunch in the town, a few steps from the college campus, then continue west instead of backtracking into Boston.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 30,519 Super Moderator
    And be prepared to get frustrated. It will be hot and the city is crowded. We live two hours north of Boston and visit it periodically. While it's a neat city, we are always glad to leave and go home! I think renting a car is your best bet. Just map your routes ahead of time and study them. The streets are so crazy that it's helpful to anticipate which way you need to go at each intersection.
  • AmyBeth68AmyBeth68 Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member
    Depending on traffic Cedar Crest, which is located in the Allentown/Bethlehem area of Pennsylvania, is probably a good 1.5 hours northwest of Philly.
  • ChristiGabiChristiGabi Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    Thanks! My daughter is pretty sure she wants to study math and physics. She got a 35 composite on ACT, including 36 on English, and 35 on math and science. We should know SAT scores soon. Unfortunately, her GPA is not as stellar. She has a 3.4 unweighted. Her high school is consistently ranked one of the top in the state though, and it's a very challenging school. So, we are thinking schools like Wellesley and Smith will be her reach schools, but want to keep other options open. Mostly, she wants to discover if an all women's college is the right fit for her. It would take her far from home, and be quite expensive, so we want to make sure our research is thorough.
  • ChristiGabiChristiGabi Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    I lied! We do have her SAT scores now - they were just posted online! She scored 1480. That's 740 math and 740 reading and writing. She doesn't even know yet. I can't wait to tell her when she gets home from school today.

    Another reason we're looking at less competitive schools is money. I'm not sure we can afford the tuition at these schools, yet I doubt we'll qualify for any need based aid. We're thinking she might have a better chance at merit aid at the less competitive schools, but we don't really know how that works. We're figuring things out as we go.
  • Snowball CitySnowball City Registered User Posts: 1,252 Senior Member
    Have you run the Net Price Calculators at the colleges to see if they would be affordable or if for sure you need to search for merit aid?
  • mom2andmom2and Registered User Posts: 2,103 Senior Member
    Agree with those that say rent a car from the start. Depending on your timing, if you don't want to park downtown, you can check into your hotel and take public transit to the touristy spots. At the end of August, you may actually find less traffic since school is not in session yet and lots of people may be away on vacation. Depending on your timing, you may want to spend two night in Boston itself. enjoying the city the first afternoon and evening, then going to Simmons in the morning and either do more site seeing and staying put, or getting a hotel the second night near Wellsely.

    Also note that many of the schools do not offer tours on Saturdays and may have limited info sessions and tours during the week in late August (Wellesley for example). You can walk around the campus, but there may not be many students around to give you a good idea of what it is really like.
  • MagnetronMagnetron Registered User Posts: 2,120 Senior Member
    One way car rentals can be very expensive, and you pay a premium at airports. We saved several hundred dollars on a one way rental by renting from an Enterprise Location a few miles from Logan and taking a cab there. The rental place reimbursed us for the cab.

    I really like the idea of women's colleges for sciences and encouraged my D to apply.
  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 21,312 Senior Member
    @ChristiGabi , frankly, I don't think you should bother to stop at Bay Path or Cedar Crest at all. Those schools aren't even near the same class as the rest of your list.. Your D would have much better choices, including choices where she could get merit money if you don't qualify for FA.

    You really need to run the NPCs.

    Magnetron is correct about saving on car rentals by going just outside the airport. :)
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