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What school was unexpectedly your least favorite when you visited?


Replies to: What school was unexpectedly your least favorite when you visited?

  • ihs76ihs76 1769 replies97 threads Senior Member
    Swarthmore: felt straight out of "A Separate Peace." 1970's vibe.
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  • psycholingpsycholing 415 replies19 threads Member
    Bard: it was a weekend so we did a self walking tour. Seemed from the beginning extremely isolated. Along the way we ran into an alum who was visiting to revive old memories. We asked what her experience at Bard was like-- she said it was great although it was hard to get off campus. But, she said, now it is a lot better as they have a daily bus to get to the supermarket... We tried chatting up students -- they were neither friendly nor interesting.

    Son made a beeline to the car, and refused to apply.

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  • QuantMechQuantMech 7981 replies35 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    There are multiple cows and sheep to be seen within spotting distance of the colleges in Cambridge, England--one of the things I have loved about it. (At least there were; I would guess they are still there.)

    QMP and I had quite divergent reactions to UCSC. I thought that the setting was like a national park. There were deer and baby squirrels when we visited, and lovely wooden bridges across tree-filled ravines. It was my idea of a gorgeous campus. But QMP could not get past the buildings, some of which appeared to have been designed in the Brutalist style.
    edited April 2017
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  • BooajoBooajo 1157 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Oberlin. Flat and barren, wind whipped, gray.
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  • RazzyrebRazzyreb 49 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited April 2017
    D1 visited Princeton and Duke, Columbia, Tufts among others with younger D2 and D3 in tow. All seemed impressive except Columbia because tour guide was too soft spoken and we couldn't hear her - very annoying. That said, D1 when accepted to Princeton and Duke participated in their accepted students weekend and was totally turned off by both. She felt the students were unhappy at Princeton and didn't feel welcomed by her host. At Duke, the campus was creepy where freshmen were going to be staying and the diversity vibe was questionable but the folks were nice. The biggest turn off was Tufts because they changed venues at the last minute and had all visitors that day walk across campus to a big auditorium where the presenter went on and on about their study abroad. It was boring. Our family left after 30 minutes. We drove through Vanderbilt without an official tour and stopped at the Panera next to campus and struck up a conversation with some students there. D1 went to Vanderbilt and had the best experience.

    D2 must have had a different feeling because she liked the annoying Columbia girl and she now is going there. She really liked UPenn but I was relieved she didn't get in because their tour and admission office was so unorganized that the tour seemed like an impromptu afterthought and the folks in the admissions were slightly dismissive.

    D3, who was not too happy to be there because she was a middle schooler at the time, is making her decision now. One place stood out -- Boston university. The campus was a little tired and somewhat confusing even though the students seemed happy. They could really use a walkway over the busy intersection next to their campus.
    I kind of feel for these schools. They have to put their best foot forward regardless of the timing of students visiting.
    edited April 2017
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  • crepescrepes 561 replies32 threads Member
    @WISdad23 LOL, great description of Smith! Yes, we visited, were expecting to like it and were disappointed. Of the 20+ college tours we went on, our Smith tour was one of the worst.

    We arrived 5 minutes late and the admissions office staff made no attempt to catch us up to the tours ("maybe they went this way, I think one of them might have gone up to that brick house, if you don't find them you can go on the self-guided tour"). This was in stark contrast to our Mt Holyoke tour earlier in the day where we were 15 minutes late and an enthusiastic student walked us over to the group, giving us a summary of the tour.
    We did manage to meet up with the Smith group along what must be one of the busiest streets, probably Elm Street. We just followed along with the guide walking with her back to the group and hardly saying anything, I thought maybe because the street was surprisingly noisy for a small town. But as the tour went along through quiet areas I realized we had come across one of the least enthusiastic guides. She seemed knowledgeable and nice enough but really didn't have that much to say--it was all quite basic, no fun facts etc. I never really realized the advantage of a guide walking backwards til this tour.
    When we got back to the admissions office at the end of the tour we had a couple of questions which the staff member answered politely enough but her main concern seemed to be "we're closing up in a few minutes."
    We then went to find something to eat in town and were turned off by the number of scary looking street people in Northampton itself. And it's not like I'm very sheltered either--I lived in NYC for 11 years.

    D said "I liked Smith better before we visited" and we agreed that for a school with a great reputation they did a poor job of selling themselves.
    We wondered if we were being oversensitive about the Smith admissions people not making an effort to catch us up to the tour. But the next week we got to Cornell 10+ minutes late for the tour (yes, I know, we had a bad week when it came to keeping up with schedules) and a student walked half a mile with us to help us find it--and then walked another 10 minutes to help DH and DS meet up with us. He gave us some helpful tips as well.

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  • twogirlstwogirls 7567 replies7 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    We visited Duke twice and both times my daughter strongly disliked it. She did not like the campus layout at all, found the campus to be too quiet, and was turned off by the fact that nobody was smiling. Disclaimer- she is a Tar Heel. I think there is some truth to what they say: when visiting both schools most will like one way more than the other - few will like both. They are too different for that to happen. Nothing against Duke- it's obviously an outstanding school.
    edited April 2017
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  • PragmaticMomPragmaticMom 361 replies6 threads Member
    This thread is the perfect antidote for post-decision stress. Since decisions are in, I'll get a few things off my chest. LOL.
    Oberlin: the "smokers" area was a huge turn-off. Even though there were no smokers there at the time we visited, the idea of a bunch of students huddling together like homeless people on a snowy day in Ohio was not the college experience I conjured for my student.

    But that wasn't my least favorite. That honor would go to Wellesley. Going in, it was a frontrunner (surprising since my student had not considered a single-sex campus previously). We flew out for "Wellesley Days" which included an overnight stay in the dorms. The campus was beautiful. But the vibe was depressing and discouraging. We were turned off by how cynical/cold the students were. No one smiled. They seem jaded. As it was only a month into the fall semester, we expected to see more excitement/happiness/wonder. I attended an academic lecture (for parents) by one of the professors in what was an overlapping major to my own college studies. Not impressed with the material or how it was presented as compared to standards set by others in that field.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10127 replies556 threads Senior Member
    Hahaha, love that @NEPatsGirl ! Yurts. We would have done the exact same thing.

    Will also break the rule reinforcement, because my D unexpectedly hated a college before she ever started looking at colleges to attend: Bowdoin. While on vacation, we visited the Arctic Museum on a rainy, miserable day. She thought the whole place looked like a memorial park and said the pines trees were "creepy." She wouldn't even consider it when the time came. Kind of ironic that she ended up in Maine anyway.
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  • citivascitivas 655 replies20 threads Member
    For my son it was a tie between George Washington and Rutgers. When he realized as we were stuck in heavy traffic in DC that we were already effectively in the middle of the GW campus, he said he didn't even need to get out of the car. We were doing a combo DC vacation and early college visits his sophomore year so it was one of the first "tours" (we still did the actual tour for Georgetown) and the one thing he settled on very quickly was no colleges that are interspersed throughout an urban area. Rutgers because he hated that the campus was split up and required buses to get around and because the tour guide was a "bro" who only cared about frats and sports and literally knew nothing else about the school.
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  • twinsmamatwinsmama 1685 replies55 threads Senior Member
    So far: Haverford (definitely unexpectedly). Bad first impression made by admissions office in small, dreary student center. Way too much talk about how collaborative everything is to suit my kids, who love overt competition and know it (Bryn Mawr same for D, but beautiful campus). Too rural-seeming for its suburban location. (And I know none of this may reflect reality, just how it seemed to my kids.)
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  • shortnukeshortnuke 517 replies10 threads Member
    Carnegie Mellon for us, which really angers me since I'm an Alumnus. The admissions people acted like they were doing us a favor by allowing us to tour the school and giving us credit for "demonstrated interest". The initial presentation was in a crowded auditorium and showed one video after another with almost no live discussion. The tour guides showed up 15 minutes late carrying fresh cups of coffee. There were only two tour guides for ~200 people, and they didn't bother to try to split the group up.
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  • toowonderfultoowonderful 4077 replies68 threads Senior Member
    Specific to a dept within a school - but CCM (Cincinnati Conservatory of Music at UC) was a HUGE turn off. I never saw a school with a stick so far up it's name and address, or so self-congratulatory. It's a great school- but a FACULTY member bragged during the info session that students "were more likely to develop an ulcer there than any other school in the nation, but if you survive, we'll make you great". Gee- no thanks.
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  • ClaremontMomClaremontMom 2365 replies41 threads Senior Member
    Several of the schools that we didn't like (ASU, Harvard, USC) had a common issue -- very busy/crowded and/or in a big city. My D also didn't like USD because of the architecture.
    My D hated Pomona because she felt there weren't enough trees.

    @1518mom - LOL! I love Pomona's grounds because it has so many trees! (So does the Claremont neighborhood around it). I guess it's all on what you are used to.

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