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Visiting California Schools questions

NewJeffCTNewJeffCT Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
We're in the Northeast, but my high school junior daughter has expressed an interest in going to college in California. She'd also prefer to be in, or near, a city. (So, she also likes NYC and Chicago, but has a little bit less interest in Boston) We're looking at visiting California in March because it's probably nicer than Evanston, IL and Ann Arbor, MI that time of year.

So, I have a few questions:

1) Is visiting UCLA and USC feasible to do in one day? Google maps have them fairly close, but I'd need to look into the timing of admissions presentations/campus tours to see if its do-able in a day.
2) Is visiting Pepperdine then UCSB also feasible in one day?
3) Any hidden gems I may be missing? (A boy from her high school is at Chapman, but I'm not sure she's that interested)

She also likes UCSD because they had an impressive presentation at her high school's college fair a few months ago. (UCLA and USC were also there, but I don't think she had time to speak with USC and only had a limited time with UCLA)

We visited a few excellent liberal arts schools in New England, but now that she has, I think she would prefer a mid-sized or large school over a Pomona or any of the other Claremont colleges.

My thinking was this:
Monday - UCLA and USC (if feasible)
Tuesday - Pepperdine and UCSB (if feasible)
Wednesday - day to relax/drive
Thursday - UC-Irvine
Friday - UCSD

We have an old neighbor from Connecticut whose son is a freshman at UCLA, but 19 year old boys aren't always the most forthcoming with information other than saying that they like the school.

Thanks for any input/help

Replies to: Visiting California Schools questions

  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN Registered User Posts: 3,219 Senior Member
    Shouldn’t the day of relaxing and driving be in between the UCLA and Berkeley visits? They are far apart.
  • CaMom13CaMom13 Registered User Posts: 1,607 Senior Member
    That is more than enough time! You don't need a day to drive from SB to Irvine either! :)

    Do you fly in Sunday?

    What's her major? I would visit either the Pomona Colleges or Occidental and Chapman on your way from SB to Irvine.
  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 Registered User Posts: 3,255 Senior Member
    UCSB is somewhat the outlier in the schools since it’s more of a college-town university as opposed to being ingrained in a big city. Also, it’s pretty far from Pepperdine, probably at least a 1.5 hour drive depending on the time of day. If those schools are your choices, I would allocate UCSB in its own separate day and combine either Pepperdine with UCLA, or leave it alone as a separate day.

    Also, would you be doing official campus tours or self-guided tours? The campus tours are always right in the middle of the day which may make combos hard to do. Also, you should be cognizant of when the spring breaks are for each school on your list. You probably want to visit when school is in session to get a better feel for things, as opposed to just looking at the school without people in it. Especially in the case of UCSD, which has pretty outdated architecture IMO.
  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 Registered User Posts: 1,043 Senior Member
    The list looks doable. For Tuesday, I would drive to UCSB in the morning and hit Pepperdine in the afternoon. Maybe stay in Santa Monica that night, have dinner at Maestro’s Ocean Club or Nobu In Malibu and drive to UC Irvine in the morning. Remember, during the weekday you will experience lots of traffic during commute hours so plan accordingly.

    I would not visit Chapman as it’s a big step down from most of the other colleges on your list. IMO, not worth the $$.

    Lastly, you might get some rain in March which could slow down your schedule a little?

    Good luck, you have some great colleges on the list.
  • NewJeffCTNewJeffCT Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    my daughter likes Berkeley, but it's too far out of the way and was not really on the list for this visit.
  • SDC9160SDC9160 Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    FWIW we found the visits to be somewhat "intense." On our spring break visit, we planned to do LMU and UCLA in the same day and ended up changing plans at the last minute after completing one of the formal tours. We were rather "drained" from the visits. We actually did do UCSB (formal tour) and Pepperdine (walked around - no tour) the same day, which is do-able, if you get the first appointment at UCSB. I suppose everyone has a unique experience, however, we found these visits to be unexpectedly draining; not in a bad way - just tiring. Again - sharing our (somewhat unexpected) reactions FWIW.
  • NewJeffCTNewJeffCT Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    @CaMom13 Thanks - I was thinking more along the lines of times for college admissions presentations and campus tours. They're usually at set times each day - i.e., Admissions presentation from 9am to 9:50am, then Campus Tour from 10am to noon,

    From there, if we had to drive 90 minutes to UCSB, we'd get there around 1:30pm, or 2:00pm if we stop for a quick lunch. It might be tight if the last admissions presentation of the day is 2pm or 2:30pm.

  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 Registered User Posts: 3,255 Senior Member
    Spring breaks for all the UCs mentioned is last week of March. USC is Mar 10-17, and Pepperdine’s is end of Feb (depending on the school, they all have different schedules).

    IMO a very thorough self-tour including checking out dorms, classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, special buildings and neighborhoods could take easily take 3-4+ hours. All of the campuses mentioned are large campuses. UCLA/USC or UCLA/Pepperdine is doable. Other combos, I’d think you would want to just do one in a day, but that’s just me.
  • NewJeffCTNewJeffCT Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    @ProfessorPlum168 thanks - did not realize that UCSD has dated architecture - it's one of those things one might miss in brochures and with online virtual tours.

    I saw online that USC just completed a large campus expansion as well, but the father of the kid who is at UCLA said that when they went to LA a few years back, they thought USC looked dated and drab compared to UCLA.

    I think my daughter is fine with a smaller city like Santa Barbara as well, plus it is close to LA. (She likes the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor is basically just a big college town.)

    I'll double check on spring breaks for the schools, but I did a cursory check and they are offering formal campus tours and admissions presentations the week we were looking to visit.
  • NewJeffCTNewJeffCT Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    @CaMom13 - also, while I'd love for her to visit Pomona, both her and my wife would prefer more of a mid sized or large school. The new head of the guidance office at her high school was previously at Pomona and Occidental, so she'd maybe have a shot. (I went to a large state school back in the dark ages, so I've been fascinated by small liberal arts colleges over the past year or so in regards to my daughter)
  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 Registered User Posts: 3,255 Senior Member
    @NewJeffCT yeah a lot of the buildings are relics from the 50s and 60’s. However, to counteract that, it’s only a mile to the beach and a short drive to beautiful La Jolla. Also, some of the buildings at UCSB and UCLA aren’t so fantastic either, in a similar vein to UCSD.
  • menloparkmommenloparkmom Registered User Posts: 12,876 Senior Member
    I hope that you dont need, or hope to get FA, because all of the UC's charge OOS students full tuition.And the cost of renting an appt in Calif, + food, should your DD decide she wants to live off campus during her Jr/ Sr years, is about $2000/ month.
  • TheJYWrinkleTheJYWrinkle Registered User Posts: 25 Junior Member
    We had a similar spring break last year with 1 campus each day for 5 days: Cal Poly, UCSB (with a drive through Pepperdine), UCLA, UC-Irvine, Pomona. We stayed in Hollywood for 3 days and took drives to Irvine and Pomona from there.

    Cal Poly is quite a bit further north, and a good school. It's in a small town so that doesn't really fit, but it's a spectacular location with mountains and nearby coast. We saw a number of the same people on the tours.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 36,740 Senior Member
    Remember that the Claremont schools are all together, giving a bigger pool for class offerings, socially, and for things like clubs. So they have the benefits of a LAC with the benefits of a mid sized school as well.

    Pomona is a tough admit, though. Not sure of her stats or interests.
  • sushirittosushiritto Registered User Posts: 3,183 Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    I think my daughter is fine with a smaller city like Santa Barbara as well, plus it is close to LA. (She likes the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor is basically just a big college town)

    FYI, you cannot walk from campus into Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara is a beautiful town, but it’s not integrated to the UCSB campus, like Ann Arbor and UMich. Goleta is a couple miles away. Isla Vista is right next door to UCSB, but it’s no Ann Arbor. ;)

    But UCSB is warm or warm-ish and right on the beach.
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