My S is about to start his second day of new student orientation here at Colorado College. I've been very impressed so far at how well-organized this has been. No long lines, no frustrating bureaucratic hoops, no confusion about what tasks need to be accomplished. Experienced students and recent alumni are all over campus to help with move-in and answer questions. We were well fed (and hydrated) all along the way.
My S had an appointment with the learning center to discuss strategies to help manage the work load here. The helpful, knowledgeable staff spent about an hour one-on-one with him discussing resources (speed-reading classes, writing assistance, etc.) Then they sent him away with a LiveScibe SmartPen (Livescribe :: Never Miss A Word
) and a year's suply of media, free of charge, to help him take more effective notes. So the learning center is very well funded, staffed, and equipped to help students make the most of their challenging classes.
The beautifully landscaped campus, with the Rockies looming in the background, is inspiring. The dry, sunny Colorado weather is a welcome relief after flying in from the hot, humid east coast. Colorado Springs is a pleasant surprise, too. We walked up and down Tejon Street on Friday evening to take in the night-life. Within about 10 blocks of campus we found a city park; night clubs; a funky used book store; a musical instrument shop (sales and repairs); restaurants; a movie theater; clothing and camping equipment shops; and a very nice bakery that serves sit-down breakfasts 6 days a week. This really is the best of both worlds: Rocky Mountain hiking trails a short drive or bike ride away, plus the amenities of urban life within walking distance from a fairly sequestered, traditional campus. This mix contrasts favorably with some of the more isolated LACs. No wonder it's one of Princeton Review's "Happiest Students" schools.
Despite this rather unique environment, it still has the imprint of the traditional, New England style liberal arts college it was designed to be. Shove Chapel is a stunning replica of a small, medieval European church, where we all ushered in last evening for a welcome address by the Dean of the College. In contrast, the new Cornerstone Arts Center is on the cutting edge of modern architectural design, with state-of-the art facilities for collaborative work in film, dance, painting and sculpture, etc.
In a couple days S will be off on an "outward-bound" type orientation trip designed to help new students get to know each other. His group apparently will be back-packing and clearing brush from mountain trails (though less athletic kids have other options). For many students, this will not be the only such trip in the coming months, as field work is well integrated into many of their classes (Life Sciences, Geology, Archeology, Anthro, etc.) under the one-course-at-a-time Block Plan.