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Help please: planning first college trip to the US (visiting from the UK)

valent2016valent2016 Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
HI everyone - I have taken on the ambitious challenge of taking my D & S (rising senior and a rising junior) to visit a medley of different colleges (they have different interests - Econ/Science), while also taking the opportunity to see as much of the US as we practically can. Our trip is in 2 months time and am beginning to panic as not sure where to start re firming up the details..

In Essence, our plan is to:

Day 1: Fly into Chicago
Day 20: Fly out of NYC

The colleges on out visit list are:

- U Chicago
- Bowdoin
- Bates
- Boston College
- Tufts
- Wesleyan
- Haverford
- Vassar

Any input suggestions re the choices/sequencing / where to stay / where to possibly have a break etc would be very welcome. Am okay to drive / take internal flights as required.

Many thanks...


Replies to: Help please: planning first college trip to the US (visiting from the UK)

  • lostaccountlostaccount Registered User Posts: 5,409 Senior Member
    You have not provided enough information for people provide helpful suggestions. Need more info about student credentials, finances, etc. Look at chance me threads to see the level of information that yields helpful suggestions.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 41,505 Senior Member
    In Chicago, visit Lake Forest and DePaul.
    Near Boston, visit wpi and northeastern.
    In Poughkeepsie visit both Marist and Vassar (start with Marist).
    If visiting haverford, visit Bryn mawr and zither swarthmore or villanova.
    In NYC, visit Fordham.
  • londondadlondondad Registered User Posts: 2,151 Senior Member
    @MYOS1634 Good suggestions. "In Chicago, visit Lake Forest and DePaul.
    Near Boston, visit wpi and northeastern.
    In Poughkeepsie visit both Marist and Vassar (start with Marist).
    If visiting haverford, visit Bryn mawr and zither swarthmore or villanova.
    In NYC, visit Fordham."

    Also, if you have time, Visit Notre Dame in Indiana
    Boston University

    if you are going from New York to Massachusetts, while in Connecticut, visit Yale, Trinity and Connecticut College. You can also probably fit in Brown.

    Also, Colby College in Maine

    In Pennsylvania, you can probably see Lehigh and Lafayette on the way from Philly to New York.

    Good luck.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 41,505 Senior Member
    What about adding some tourism? Ithaca has both Cornell and Ithaca College but also the Finger Lakes area! In Pittsburgh, visit Pitt AND the Andy Warhol museum and the Frick house! When crossing Pennsylvania, make a stop in the middle for the night, stay in State College and walk around a college town, in the morning see a gigantic state university and its stadium!
  • valent2016valent2016 Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    @lostaccount - thanks for the pointer, here's some background info on my D (rising senior):

    - ACT (33)
    - SAT Subjects: Maths II (780); Chemistry (780)
    - IB: She is predicted a score of 41 (which is reasonably good but not outstanding according to her school adviser). She has taken what is considered tough subjects - like Higher level Maths, Chemistry etc.
    - General academics - she has been in the 10% of her class since grade 9 and has
    - Work experience - c.4 internships of 1-2 months duration each (at a start-up online fashion company; a consultancy firm etc)
    - Extra curricular - lots of sports, dance, drama and musicals (meaningful parts as well supporting activities like make-up artist etc)
    - Community service - she has been extremely active with two orphanages across Asia and has spent several holidays volunteering there with meaningful roles
    - Essays - she should have good meaningful things to write about - but her first draft essays were a 5/10 per her adviser (so clearly much more work to be done)

    She is looking to major in Economics..but this keeps changing I have to say. Finances would be a challenge but is not a criteria at this stage.

    Her Uni advisor who is extremely frank - told me that her profile is average for the more selective US universities ...and all the colleges listed above is a high reach for her. The list was drawn up by her her after hours of research (only U Chicago was added by her Brother) ...so it is a bit of a conundrum.
  • valent2016valent2016 Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    @MYOS1634 ...we would certainly like to add in tourism where we can ...and those are fantastic ideas. Do you think Haverford and Bryn Mawr would doable in a day?
  • valent2016valent2016 Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    @londondad ...thanks a lot ...I had Notre dame on my list earlier but got taken off by her adviser but can't recall why...will relook / research again ...
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 36,881 Senior Member
    Yes, they are doable in a day. Be sure to run the net price calculators on schools before visiting. Also, if you don't have a copy of the Fiske Guide to Colleges, get one and read up before choosing where to visit. We made copies of the pages and took them with us when visiting, too (I had kid read them in the car on the way to each college before visiting to refresh their memory on the school, worked well for us).
  • valent2016valent2016 Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    @GMTplus7 ...wow...Super helpful, and made me realise the level of planning that is required to make most of the trip / get it done smoothly. I will go through and update / finalise the list shortly and revert.... Based on my D profile above, any thoughts on which school (from current list) maybe better to take off/ replace with others.....
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 41,505 Senior Member
    Yes, Byrn Mawr and Haverford are about 1 mile apart (they're part of a consortium, students can take their classes at either one). Dedicate at least one evening and a full day to Philadelphia, but at that point you'll be at the end of your trip and taking two days "off" may allow everyone to recharge batteries better.
    So, if Day1 = BMC+H, Evening Day1, Day2, Day3 = Philadelphia, Evening Day 3= travel somewhere else. A train will take you from Philly to DC or NYC in about 2H/2H30, and you can eat dinner on the train.

    I second intparent's recommendation: buy a Fiske Guide. I would add a Princeton review's best colleges and/or Insider's guide to the colleges. Try to define "fit" - universities have a "personality" and "fit" means that your profile matches the university's. You could, of course, go against type, but applying to universities with very different "fits" (ie., W&L and Oberlin :D) is a very bad idea.

    It's not that her profile is "average for the universities she's looking at". It's that any college with an admission rate below 30% for Americans is going to be a lucky draw for her. And, as GMT said, DO NOT underestimate the difficulty of getting into some colleges with 40-50% admissions rates - LACs, in particular, have self-selective pools of applicants, so that the acceptance rate may be higher than expected, but the selectivity (ie., stats/profile of admitted students) often makes them very hard to get into.

  • entertainersmomentertainersmom Registered User Posts: 1,421 Senior Member
    Many of us in the backwaters of Maine, especially the backwaters south of Augusta, take a bus to Boston Logan. I live in Brunswick, and there is a bus station/train station here. The bus will take you to Portland and you can take an Express bus directly to Boston Logan. Not ideal, but an option.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 36,881 Senior Member
    I don't see any true safeties on that list, and you want to make sure she has a college or two that she is pretty safe to get into and you know you can pay for. Dickinson would be a low match that she might like (but they care about interest, so visiting and applying in their EA round is a good idea). She might get merit there, too.
  • Sue22Sue22 Registered User Posts: 6,125 Senior Member
    It sounds like you really need to add some match and likely schools. Here's a useful tool for finding schools similar to the ones on your list. The "Colleges selected as peers by this school" lists tend to be aspirational (schools with similar or lower admit rates) so make sure to look at the "Colleges that selected this college as a peer" list as well.


    Some suggestions to match the LACs on your list; I would consider these match schools, with the exception of Hamilton which would be a reach. They are all in upstate NY, CT or PA. We did these schools plus a couple of safer schools (Gettysburg, Muhlenberg, Allegheny) in a 5 day road trip out of Boston. We were surgical about the trip and really focused on schools. You could do a kinder gentler version with Haverford, Wesleyan and Vassar added in and with visits to the Finger Lakes, a side trip to NYC or any other touristing you'd like in a week and a half or two.

    Hobart and William Smith
    St. Lawrence
    Franklin and Marshall
    Connecticut College (close to Wesleyan)

    Hamilton, Conn College and Trinity are all in that same athletic league (NESCAC) as Wesleyan, Tufts, Bates and Bowdoin.

    You may also want to consider all or part of the 6 college tour of schools in Ohio (Denison, Oberlin, C. of Wooster, Wittenberg, Ohio Wesleyan, Kenyon.)


    If the Ohio schools don't interest your daughter you might want to fly from Chicago to Boston.

    Bates and Bowdoin can be done as a long day trip out of Boston. Adding Colby would mean an overnight. Many students do the three schools as a loop (Bates-Colby-Bowdoin or Bowdoin-Colby-Bates.) Maine is really nice in the hot summer months and Portland is an attractive small city so you may want to spend a day or two on the Maine coast. There's also outlet shopping in Kittery and Freeport Maine, so if that's something attractive to you can add a couple of hours in for a little retail therapy.

    When you look at the map consider how your daughter feels about travel times. You can reach the airport from a school like Tufts or BC in no time. Schools like Bowdoin or Wesleyan will mean a longer but still manageable drive. Colby, Union or Skidmore would be longer and St. Lawrence and HWS are a bit of a slog. Most schools have a bus to the airport at the start and finish of major school breaks.

    If I were you I'd shoot your daughter's college counselor an email with a list of "safer" schools you've gotten from this thread and see what she thinks. She may have insight into your daughter's thinking that may help you narrow the list.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 41,505 Senior Member
    St Lawrence : fly into Montreal.
This discussion has been closed.