Hi! I am considering Ithaca College’s Park School and recently sent in my application to the Honors College. Do you know anything about this program? Also, how would you describe the social life freshman year? Thanks
Thanks @gorgesbee, I do have some questions for you.
What do students do on weekends? What is the political climate like - would a conservative fit in? Do you know if regular decisions go out by snail mail, email or on portal?
@ebright1028 Congrats on being invited to apply for the Honors program! Although I myself am not a member of this program, I do know a bit about it.
The Honors program is technically considered a minor, so you take a certain number of courses in order to complete the program. Your freshman seminar will be one of those courses. From what I’ve heard from friends in the program, the Honors courses aren’t too terribly hard, so you should be fine.
The single best part about the Honors program in my (non-member) opinion is the registration benefit. Honors kids get to register before everyone else does, which is super nice, especially freshman year. If you are an Honors student, you get to register at 7:30 am the day the Seniors register I believe, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to get into the classes you want.
I’d say the social life freshman year is whatever you make it! You’ll find a nice little group of friends relatively quickly (I highly recommend using IC Peers if you’ve already applied to the school - a lot of people I met on there are my real-life friends now!). What you do depends on what you enjoy. My friends and I love going down to the Commons for the day when its nice. We go to the gorges sometimes, or hang out on campus.
When its nice, you’ll see the quad covered in people hanging out, playing frisbee, and just having a good time together. When there’s snow, you’ll se huge groups on people having snowball fights. Just walk up to one of the groups and join them! Most people on campus are super friendly. There’s parties if you want them, but I don’t really think they’re at all necessary to have a good time (I haven’t gone to one, and I love my school and have so much fun there.) On some weekends, the school hosts something called IC Afterdark, which is another fun thing for the weekends. They have different themes and activities - we had a mechanical bull earlier this year! Other than that, there’s always a concert or play or something going on on campus, so you and your friends will have plenty of places to go.
Let me know if you have any other questions or need clarification on anything I said! I hope to see you on campus next year!
The political climate at Ithaca College, and in fact in Ithaca as a whole, is extremely liberal. There are a few clubs for conservatives on campus that are actively about conservative politics - IC Republicans and Young Americans for Liberty are the two I know about. I highly, highly recommend visiting campus before making a decision so you can gauge your own comfort level. You wouldn’t be ostracized as a conservative at IC, but you would be in the minority, and you need to decide if that’s something you’re comfortable with.
College decisions (as of last year, at least) were by snail mail and portal. I received my letter in snail mail well before my portal updated, I believe, but I think some of my friends found out about their acceptance via portal, so it could really go either way.
I explained what the social life was like in my previous reply, so I’ll just summarize it here: your social life will be whatever you make it. If you want a party, you can find one. If you want food, go to the Commons. If you wanna hike, they call Ithaca gorges for a reason. Don’t be afraid to go up to groups of people you see (easier said than done, I know,) because the people at Ithaca are really, really friendly. You’ll have friends and will be fine on the weekends, trust me. If you’ve already applied to the school, I highly recommend signing up for IC Peers! I made a lot of friends on there. It’s a great way to meet people in the same situation you’re in.
Good luck with the rest of your admissions process! Let me know if you have any other questions or need any clarification on anything I said! I hope to see you on campus next year!
What other schools did you consider? Do you know anything about the Film Majors at Park?
I looked at a few different schools. Ithaca, Syracuse, and Canisius were my top 3. I chose Ithaca because Syracuse was a bit too big for me, and as much as I loved Canisius, the program was nowhere near as good as Ithaca’s. Park’s three biggest competitors tend to be Emerson, Syracuse, and Boston University in terms of attracting students, I think.
I do know a little bit about the film majors in Park, and I have quite a few friends in both C&P and Film, Photo, and VA. Do you have any specific questions about the film majors? I can ask around about any questions I personally don’t know the answer to.
Thank you for your response. It is much appreciated. I was curious of the major differences between the “Film, Photography and Visual Arts” major and the “Cinema and Photography” major. My son was admitted to the former. He is interested in Film Production and Directing and we are questioning whether the Cinema and Photography major makes more sense for him. Also, how difficult is it to switch tracks? Thank you and we look forward to your response.
So I asked around about the major differences between Cinema and Photography and Film, Photography, and Visual Arts. Those majors are extremely similar, so similar, in fact, the core courses freshmen take are exactly the same.
From what I’ve heard from people so far, the major difference between the two seems to be that in Cinema and Photography, you get to declare a concentration (the two options are Cinema Production and Still Photography), whereas Film, Photo, and Visual Arts is more of a combination of the three. I’ve linked the graduation requirements for both majors below for you and your son to review.
It isn’t hard at all to switch between the two majors. Since they’re so similar, people (freshmen especially) tend to change between the two as they figure out what they want to do. I have a friend that was in the same situation as your son, and they ended up changing to Cinema and Photography as soon as they realized the difference. This was within the first semester of their freshman year.
Please let me know if you have any further questions or need any clarification for this response! Good luck to your son, and I hope to see him on campus next year!
Film, Photo and Visual Arts grad reqs: http://catalog.ithaca.edu/undergrad/schools/park-school-communications/department-media-arts-sciences-studies/film-photography-visual-arts-major-bfa/
Once again, thank you for your reply. It was very helpful. Any trouble getting the housing you wanted once you were assigned a number?
I personally didn’t have any trouble getting housing I wanted, but I also had a pretty good lottery number (I’m pretty sure my assigned time was the second slot on the first day freshmen could choose housing). The best way to ensure your son gets housing he wants is to encourage him to select an area he would like to live in, instead of necessarily a building.
For example, my major is primarily based in Park, so I knew I wanted to be near Park so I wouldn’t have to be outside for an excessively long time while walking to class in the winter. When my roommate and I talked about where we wanted to live, we decided on trying for lower quads instead of any particular dorm building. Since there are like 5 buildings in the lower quads, we had a much better chance of getting the housing we wanted than if we had set our hearts on a specific building.
Also, for what its worth, I had a ton of friends with high lottery number that didn’t necessarily get into the buildings/areas they wanted to be in that absolutely love the buildings they ended up in.
Hi there! I am pretty sure I’m going to apply to Ithaca RD for Journalism. Do you know anything about this program or ones similar to it? Also, how would you best describe the environment on campus? (Crazy parties, super academic, lots of greek life? etc). any other info you have would be super helpful!! thanks so much
Disclosure - I’m not a journalism major, so I don’t really know every little detail about the program, but I do know a little bit about it from what I’ve gathered from friends.
That being said, all of my friends that are in the journalism major seem to be really happy with it! They take several journalism classes in their first year and even first semester (which is standard in Park), so they get a sense of whether or not they like it from the very beginning.
Just to briefly go over some “highlights”(in my opinion) of the program, journalism students are required to take on a minor outside of Park. Most students use this as a way to specialize. For example, some students want to be political correspondents, so they minor in politics. I’m not sure if this is standard or not in other colleges, but I personally thought that was pretty interesting. Don’t let the minor requirement scare you though, all students in the communications school, regardless of major, are required to take a certain amount of credits outside of Park (in journalism and most other majors cases, this requirement is 60 credits). In addition to the minor requirement, there is also a foreign language requirement, which I think is fairly standard for journalism programs. More information about the academic requirements for a journalism degree can be found here: http://catalog.ithaca.edu/undergrad/schools/park-school-communications/department-journalism/journalism-major-ba/.
Personally, I believe the true value of a Park education comes in the experiences you get outside of the classroom. Journalism has a ton of these opportunities. You can join ICTV or the Ithacan, which are both award-winning student media. For news, ICTV is primarily known for Newswatch, but there are a ton of other shows you can become involved in. The Ithacan does some very hard-hitting journalism at times, so it is also a great thing to be involved in. You can also study abroad or away during your time as a student at Ithaca. In Park, internships are a primary reason students leave campus, so you’ll gain real experience. Some examples of places you can go to are London, NYC, LA, and even Washington, DC through Cornell. If you plan carefully, you may even be able to study abroad for two semesters!
I would describe the environment at Ithaca as fairly laid back. There are some parties if that’s something you’re interested, but I don’t think many parties actually occur on campus (admittedly, I’m not a partier, so I’m not actually sure). There is no Greek Life on campus, with the exception being academic fraternities. I wouldn’t necessarily call Ithaca a super academic school, but I think students do tend to be super involved. This is especially true in Park, where a lot of students are heavily involved in the student media, and you’ll also find people working on side projects, freelancing, etc.
Ithaca is a great school, and I’m really happy there. Let me know if you have any more questions! Good luck with the rest of your admissions process, and I hope to see you on campus next year!
Thank you SO much!!
How is the food? Are there good healthy options on campus?
I’m glad I could help!
Hi! The food isn’t too terrible. I definitely miss my mom’s cooking at times, but I don’t dislike the food at school. Any complaints I’ve had about food at school have more to do with me getting tired of it than they have to do with the overall quality of the food.
If you find yourself missing the taste of homemade food and you’d like to prepare a few dishes for yourself, that’s definitely possible, as all of the residence halls have kitchens equipped with an oven, a refrigerator, and a microwave. Be aware that you do need to bring your own pots/pans/etc.
There are a variety of healthy foods on campus! All of the dining halls have foods that are safe for all dietary restrictions (gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.) In addition to that, there are a wide range of vegetarian and vegan foods available. Information as to whether the food is vegetarian/vegan or not is clearly labeled above all of the foods on the buffet, and Campus Center dining hall has a section that serves exclusively vegan foods.
Food in the dining halls is marked with various pieces of nutritional information, like what constitutes a serving, calories per serving, ingredients used to make the dish, etc., so you have the ability to be very aware of what is in the food and decide whether or not its something you want to eat.
Ithaca definitely makes it as easy as they can to continue eating healthy while in college!
Do you remember if regular decisions came out on a particular day or in waves? The website just says by April 15 at latest.
I have no idea if they changed things this year, but last year I’m pretty sure they released decisions in waves. I personally applied EA in like September, and I received my decisions in the first wave of acceptances (mid-November).
Thanks for starting this thread! I got into the Journalism program at the Park School which I’m pretty excited about. How is the weather like? I follow Ithaca’s instagram and there are always photos of campus covered in snow. Is it rough to move around campus on days where it is snowy? Might sound like a stupid question but I’m actually from Hawaii so 60 degree weather is actually freezing for us lol. Also, how is the diversity on campus?
Hi! Congratulations on your acceptance!
In regards to the weather, we like to say it ‘ithacates’. Pretty much, that means the weather is pretty weird, which is typical for upstate New York. The coming week is a prime example of this. The high today is 22 degrees, tomorrow is supposed to have a high of 41, Saturday is supposed to be a high of 46, and Sunday is supposed to have a high of 38. Of course, next Tuesday we’re supposed to be back down to 19 degrees, because it’s Ithaca, and we can’t have nice weather all of the time in January.
We do get a decent amount of snow, but mobility doesn’t tend to be too hard if you live on campus. Maintenance does a good job of shoveling and salting the sidewalks, so it’s usually fine. You’ll definitely want a pair of high quality boots (a LOT of students wear LL Bean), a warm coat, gloves, etc. to make walking around more comfortable though.
Ithaca College is a predominantly white campus (I’ve seen figures that say about 70% of the campus is white). I’m actually a student from a underrepresented minority group myself, and I can say I’ve never felt uncomfortable on campus. Ithaca is a really progressive town, and the campus represents that. The little comments I got at home (“you’re so articulate!” “can I touch your hair?”, etc) don’t really happen here, which is really, really nice. Also, there are a wide variety of clubs on campus that revolve around giving minority students a safe place, which is really nice too. I made a lot of friends that way.
Let me know if you have any other questions! I hope you choose Ithaca!
My S has been accepted to the film program. We have not yet visited. But how big does Ithaca “feel” to you. Not asking about # of students, just the feel of it to you as a student.