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Not Super Outdoorsy - Is that a problem for Colorado College?

PizzagirlPizzagirl Registered User Posts: 40,488 Senior Member
edited March 2010 in Colorado College
We just had a very nice visit at CC -- overall, favorably impressed in all regards.

My D loves the block plan, but is concerned about the outdoorsy nature of the campus (and it was very evident - students jogging, skateboarding, hanging around outdoors, much talk about going skiing and the like).

She plays tennis (varsity), she's enjoyed overnight camp for several years and gone biking / kayaking through the upper midwest; she's in an adventure ed gym class this semester that will be doing things like kayaking. She's only been skiing once. If an activity were set up for her and friends were going along, she'd do it; but she's not the spontaneous "oh! let's go hiking!" type.

Anyway, she liked the place overall, but is concerned that she wouldn't fit in with the students or that there wasn't much else if you weren't actively engaged outdoors. Thoughts?
Post edited by Pizzagirl on

Replies to: Not Super Outdoorsy - Is that a problem for Colorado College?

  • luckymamaluckymama Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Pizzagirl, I thought I would reply to this since my D graduated from CC in 2008 and I have a good sense of the student body there. Your description of your D could just as easily have described mine (down to the tennis player who came from the Midwest). She chose CC because she loved the "vibe" and the block plan. She would never have described herself as "outsdoorsy" in the extreme sense of the word but found she did enjoy many outdoorsy activities, in the company of her friends, that she probably wouldn't have sought out had she gone to college in a different type of setting. Yes, some of her friends were skiers, and she did go on a few ski trips, but there were many like her who were not big skiers and who had more fun with the apres skiing than they did with the actual skiing itself. There were several other trips that I recall involving rafting, hiking, staying at a friend's cabin and playing in the snow, but other trips too such as Santa Fe, Albuquerque Balloon Festival, Las Vegas, visits home with friends, etc. Her friends were a wonderfully well-rounded group of kids that enjoyed lots of different activities. In short, it was a terrific environment and she would say the best four years of her life!

    BTW, my S who was just accepted ED is no more outdoorsy himself. He has skied a few times and enjoys camping and backpacking but he falls into the same category as your D and mine. CC is a great fit for him. :)
  • 07DAD07DAD Registered User Posts: 5,169 Senior Member
    Interesting question. Others have asked if there are school sponsored activities for the non-skier--yes. We have discussed that there are on campus things to do if your student stays on campus at block breaks.

    I know my son mentions that there are lots of music groups that play at Red Rock outside Denver. The Arts department constantly has student performances in progress (at least the Dance department does) that anyone can try out for.

    1 in 4 students is involved in the Div sports and 3 out of 4 are involved either in Div sports or in intramural or club sports. See the CC link for other clubs and activities.

    Colorado College | Student Life

    That said, I think most of the CC students are active in something outside of classes. I think Greek participation is about 1 in 4.

    There are 300 days a year of sunshine and it is my impression that draws the students out of the dorms. Pikes Peak is the back drop.

    As luckymama said CC seems to accommodate students like your daughter so long as she is at least a "joiner."
  • tk21769tk21769 Registered User Posts: 10,495 Senior Member
    Mine is very outdoorsy, so that aspect of CC was a definite draw.
    But he has bad knees and has never learned to ski. So he was a little concerned last year (as an applicant) about the possibility of school emptying out on winter weekends. He definitely likes his quiet times with friends and is not go go go all the time.

    But so far, his first year schedule (social and academic) has been very full. He's been up to Red Rocks, to Aspen on a short block course, to the Baca campus for part of one course, out to Western CO on a road trip, to classmates' homes, down to Santa Fe on a Habitat for Humanity project. He's also applying for a Venture Grant to spend a block on a project in Vermont with 2 classmates.

    There is a lot to do on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods as well. Drum and guitar lessons in his case, plus ice hockey games, the "Farm", etc. He seemed pretty lukewarm about the big time hockey scene until he attended his first Colorado College game. Pretty exciting, to hear him talk. He also has described working on an Environmental Design project, until after midnight on a weekend after a hockey game, in a class workshop; so it's not as though classes don't absorb considerable attention, too. Each class gets its own dedicated classroom/studio/workshop for the duration of the block, so kids can and do hang out there to continue discussions and work long after the official schedule says the class is over.

    Lots of possibilities. I think there are many kids at this school who are game for adventure, and are open to defining adventure in various ways. I dunno, maybe that's not the right atmosphere for some. It would not have been right for me at that age. I liked having all the action focused right around campus, including quieter stuff like foreign film showings, browsing the local used book shops, just hanging out talking to folks. Not that you can't find that at CC. It has its own intellectual atmosphere but the outdoorsy/athletic/explore-the-west element does seem to be a defining feature for many students.

    It's not a question of whether a different kind of kid would be accepted, find friends and things to do. It's more a question of whether your D would proactively make that environment work for her and be happy doing it. My sense is that the place is a fast-moving stream. Some kids have a blast riding the rapids. Others happily float along and splash in quieter waters. What you don't want to do is just lurk on shore by yourself and watch. But I get the impression that is not likely with either of the Pizzatwins, at any school.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Registered User Posts: 40,488 Senior Member
    Thank you all.
  • broetchenbroetchen Registered User Posts: 1,130 Senior Member
    I have seen the cross admit data, but I was wondering if some people could share their personal experiences of why they chose CC over other schools. Why CC versus Whitman, for instance?
  • tk21769tk21769 Registered User Posts: 10,495 Senior Member
    ^ I'm not sure where you're finding cross-admit data. CC does publish a table of "Top Ten Cross-Over Colleges" in its Statistical Profile: Statistical Profile (download the "Section II: Admissions" pdf to find this table).

    Whitman is the #3 cross-over for 2008-2009. My S was attracted to Whitman but decided not to apply due to the distance from home (Mid-Atlantic.) CC is far, too, but we have family in the area. Both schools are "outdoorsy" with good academics but I think on balance Colorado Springs is more desirable than Wala Wala and the Rocky Mountain front range more so than SE Washington.

    From 2004-2005 to 2006-2007, Macalester was on the cross-over list. He applied there and was accepted with the same sized merit scholarship as CC offered. He decided not even to visit Mac (after CC already admitted him as an EA) for 2 reasons, first because of the cold climate, and second, because he thought it lacked CC's outdoor recreational opportunities.

    He was wait listed at Haverford but did not accept the spot. He felt it was too close to his high school (geographically and in small school, Quaker-influenced atmosphere), and by then was excited about CC. Haverford would have been significantly more expensive.

    He also was accepted to St. Mary's College of Maryland, a beautiful public LAC, and did seriously consider it. The one class he attended (something in life sciences) seemed a little elementary to him (may have just been a bad pick.) The fact that 80% of the students were from Maryland was a negative. Plus, I think he's just more of a mountain person than a waterfront person. His best friend did decide to go to SMCM and loves it.
  • kolijmakolijma Registered User Posts: 263 Junior Member
    Yes, CC and Whitman do seem to have a lot of the same applicants, but opinions will vary on why they prefer one over the other. Most of the students I spoke with at Whitman who were accepted at both chose Whitman over CC because, many other qualities being more or less equal, they preferred Walla Walla over Colorado Springs. It is charming and more integrated with the college. Colorado College is on the Princeton Review list of colleges with poor town/gown relationships (conservative town, liberal college), although I see they are making every effort to improve this divide.
  • tk21769tk21769 Registered User Posts: 10,495 Senior Member
    ^ You know, I was alert to the town/gown issue, but I have not yet seen any clear evidence of its impact on my own kid. Focus on the Family and other organizations seem to define the town as "conservative" but it's not as though their people are snarling at CC people on the sidewalks. Those organizations, as far as I can tell, are located miles away on the outskirts of town. Close to the college, up and down Tejon Street, you find funky shops, restaurants, clubs, etc. The D1 men's hockey team plays in a city arena off campus; it is supported by both students and townspeople.

    Wala Wala is a town of about 30,000 in southeastern Washington, quite a distance from Portland or Seattle. Colorado Springs is a city of over 300,000, just 61 miles south of Denver.

    Many LACs are located in rural areas or small towns (some much smaller than Wala Wala) so Whitman is not too unusual in this respect. CC's setting is more the exception among small liberal arts colleges. Other than Macalester, I cannot think of another top 30 LAC that is located within the limits of a city this size or larger.
  • broetchenbroetchen Registered User Posts: 1,130 Senior Member
    Very helpful -- thanks.
    Some one brought up political leanings. Do you find the student body significantly more liberal than Whitman? For instance, Macalaster does have a more vocal, some have said hostile to conservatives, culture than Whitman which seems to be less intense politically. Any sense of where on the spectrum you would put CC?
  • tk21769tk21769 Registered User Posts: 10,495 Senior Member
    I suggest you read the review on collegeguide.org, which reviews colleges from a culturally conservative perspective. It gives CC a "green light" (a rating very few schools get). I believe the implication is that, from the reviewer's perspective, people of diverse viewpoints (including Conservatives) tend to be treated respectfully at this school. My impression is that this is a liberal campus, but not a very politicized one.
  • broetchenbroetchen Registered User Posts: 1,130 Senior Member
    Thanks tk, I actually have the book and it is a good reminder to look it over again.
  • 07DAD07DAD Registered User Posts: 5,169 Senior Member
    bump for momwonders
This discussion has been closed.