Colleges your child crossed off the list after visiting, schools that moved up on the list. Why?

We did, twice. First on a self-guided tour, and later on an official tour.

I loved almost everything about AU. A lot of potential applicants mention the location as being a negative, but it was not bad IMO. It’s not right in the heart of the action of DC like GWU, but no one I spoke to at AU mentioned any problems get into and around DC. Also, being in an area surrounded by upper-middle class neighborhoods has the benefit of being a super-safe feeling location for families who worry about that. For us, the location was far from a dealbreaker. I liked that AU provided every student with a metro pass.

With my son planning to major in Economics and/or Business (at the time) with an interest in Communications, we both liked their Economics program. Their Communications programs seems especially good. The Business school also would have worked for my son.

What we both liked a lot was how AU took advantage of its location. There were many events where locals (politicians, media, business people) came to speak or teach a class. There seemed to be a wealth of internship opportunities in the area for all majors. AU seems to have a robust Study Abroad program.

The buildings on campus were a mix of newer and older buildings. It wasn’t a campus of all perfect buildings or all buildings needing serious upgrading. It seemed like a normal campus to me in that regard - not Richmond perfect, but not bad either. If I wanted anything more from AU’s campus, I wish it was a little larger. A little more space would have given it a boost.

My son wasn’t wowed during either visit to AU. Probably because both visits also included visits to one or more of Georgetown, Howard, GWU and CUA, and each of those campuses had at least one thing to offer that surpassed and overshadowed that same facet at AU. Georgetown was a classic campus that had a multitude of impressive looking buildings. Howard, though a little run down, just seemed like home, was a place he could see himself thriving academically and socially, and was in a neighborhood he could see himself in a lot. GWU was a great tour for us and it was great to be so immediately close to so much. And CUA was just a great little campus.

But weeks after the second visit, he started talking more about how much he liked AU. Actually, he liked all five DC campuses and would have been happy at any of them.

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I’ve loved reading all of these posts, and so I decided to add our thoughts now that S22 is done with his college process.

Visited 12 schools & son prepared apps for 7 of these (plus 2 more that we didn’t visit). Son ended up submitting 5 apps but then withdrawing/declining 4 when admitted to his ED1 choice, Bucknell.

Priorities for my son were: liberal arts schools (small class sizes), larger-sized LACs (ideally not fewer than 2,500 students, but definitely not fewer than 2,000), “work hard, play hard” mentality with a good frat scene.

Top choices after all visits:

Bucknell: Loved the campus, school/class size (3,500+ students), frat scene. Knows several people who have attended – all very bright and a lot of fun. Loved that campus is walkable to the teeny but cute town. Really could see himself here. Was one of top choices going in and ended up being his first choice. He applied ED1 and was admitted! Thrilled to be into his first choice and done.

Richmond: Second choice after the visits. He applied EA but would have switched app to ED2 if he hadn’t been admitted to Bucknell. Campus was impeccable! Grounds looked manicured, and loved the new/old feel of the buildings. Also really liked that each student able to access a stipend to support research or internships. What put this right behind Bucknell for S22 was the fact that you can’t live in the fraternity houses. My husband and brother both had that living in the fraternity experience and LOVED it. Son really sees himself doing the same.

Also, I didn’t love that the school isn’t walkable to Carytown; felt a little land-locked despite being the closest of any of his schools to a metropolitan area. Withdrew his EA app once admitted to Bucknell.

Colgate: Tied with Bucknell for son’s top choice. Only reason he didn’t apply there ED1 was bc his school’s college advisor recommended applying to Bucknell and Richmond ED1 and ED2 to maximize son’s chances to get into one of his top choices (bc Colgate more difficult to get into). No regrets here but Colgate was beautiful, the right size/party scene, and great academics. Prepared app but didn’t submit once he got into Bucknell.

Dartmouth: This was an absolute far reach for my son. Visited and toured bc husband an alum. Of course, Dartmouth checked all of his boxes and is the perfect size (~4,000). Would have been S’s first choice if he thought it was worth using the ED card here.

Stayed the same:

Lehigh: Son and husband loved the campus and surroundings. I thought it looked a little downtrodden and didn’t love the former manufacturing feel of the town. Very hilly. Not an LAC and not as small as he wanted, but he still liked it. Son prepared application but never submitted.

Franklin & Marshall: Lancaster is a really cute town and campus was beautiful. The housing groups (can’t remember what they’re called) looked so interesting. Son prepared application but never submitted.

Denison: This was the first college visit for my son. He and I visited last March as it was the first school that fit his criteria that was available for in-person visits. Very hilly campus, but beautiful and liked how close it is to the cute little town and that it’s not far from Columbus. We’re from Ohio and it’s in-state for us, and son wanted to got OOS. Still, he could have seen himself here. He submitted his application (RD but submitting before 12/1 made him eligible for the Ohio scholarship) but withdrew it once accepted to Bucknell.

Moved off:

Gettysburg: Not impressed with the very flat campus, but offerings and gym looked good. Son saw himself at other schools above Gettysburg so didn’t apply.

Lafayette: I loved the school and thought grounds were beautiful. Son and husband didn’t like it as much. They thought campus looked a little run-down; I didn’t agree. School fell off list and S22 didn’t apply.

Skidmore: Though Saratoga Springs is a great town, none of us loved the campus. A little too 60s-ish. Son also didn’t feel the vibe of the campus so decided not to apply.

Hamilton: Husband and I loved Hamilton and could easily have seen either of us at the school. It was too small for my son and the social scene not appealing to him. It also would have been difficult to get in, so he didn’t apply.

Middlebury: Husband and son visited this without me. Husband loved it but son not so much. Again, would have been a significant reach so not worth it for my son to apply if he wasn’t excited about it.

Not visited but applied EA:

Hobart William Smith and Elon. He was accepted to both (found out the same day as he learned about Bucknell), but he declined as soon as possible to open up spaces for others. Website review of both made them look great.

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Overall, my DD liked or loved almost all the schools visited!

Moved Off:
Radford: Admissions tour was not particularly enthused and students seemed unfriendly. No info on her major. No real town nearby.

William and Mary: Daughter not digging the vibe. Tour guides were political science majors and talked about activism extensively. My daughter supports but not #1 interest.

Way UP:
U of Delaware: Went to an Open House. Truly impressive open house, with loads of students available for questions, academic info session was excellent. Went from bottom of the list to the top.

Christopher Newport: Seriously beautiful campus and the tour guide exuded happiness. Talked about traditions on campus. Saw a dorm room, which looked really nice compared to what I remembered. DD totally sold.

UP: Penn State. Good generic tour. Daughter liked before tour and liked after as well. OOS tuition… bummer.

U of Mary Washington: Enthusiastic tour guide and happy vibe on campus.

SAME: VT Top of the list anyways due to major and in-state tuition. Good tour but large so difficult to hear. Admissions presentation before tour had some good info-- (i.e. for DD, pre-vet students have a better chance of admission if applying to animal science rather than biology per admissions rep). They also stated that the students shouldn’t be too worried about grammar and editing for their applications. REALLY? Husband’s mouth fell open.

U of SC: Tour guide great and campus lovely. Had several students with skateboards obviously skate through our tour group several times to disrupt. Found out about a language requirement, which daughter was not thrilled about.

James Madison-tour made the parents cringe a bit (Tour guide: “This fast food restaurant is open til 3-4 am, when you are drunk coming home from a party.”) Kids were all nodding along. On a positive note, campus was gorgeous and liked the little robots that deliver food.

Hope this helps!! Fun to write!

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U of Richmond - Daughter really liked the whole campus and thought she could see herself there. Decided not to apply because too small for what she thinks she wants.

Villanova - Campus was very nice, not sure how she felt about everyone wearing NOVA gear (I think that’s school spirit - she thought it was a bit much), didn’t love that it was only a mile across campus and that there was no real college town next to it. Stayed on the list just b/c of its reputation.

U of Georgia - loved the surrounding town, campus was big but walkable, students seemed happy and friendly. Stayed on the list but reach b/c OOS.

Clemson - really impressed with the business school building, didn’t love that there was no greek houses (she thinks she wants a sorority), small downtown compared to other colleges that are higher on her list but overall very good impression.

Penn State - went up the list. She was surprised how much she liked it. Even though its a big campus it was building after building; not a lot of green space but she didn’t care. Loved the college downtown that is next to the campus. We were there on game day with a white out so what kid looking for football and school spirit wouldn’t like that!

U of Indiana - prettiest campus by far especially with all the green space and limestone buildings. Impressive business school and career services building. Very big campus and spread out but downtown Bloomington was a typical college town, which she loved.

U of Maryland - too spread out with freshman dorms all the way to one side of the campus. All red brick buildings and daughter was not impressed. Never made it on a list.

Franklin & Marshall - too small for her but we did a drive by as we were at a summer lax tourney. Very nice campus nestled among a really nice suburb. Not much going on outside of campus that we could see but overall small, nice campus.

Lehigh - “felt like she was going to throw up” driving up the hills to the dorms/buildings. Did not like that it was built on a hill and the downtown surrounding area felt tired and sketchy. She didn’t apply. I think its a great school but its where she sees a fit, and this wasn’t it.

My son is a college sophomore - he wouldn’t get out of the car at Providence; way to small for him, didn’t like the college housing next to campus and didn’t want an urban environment. Loved U Mass Amherst: I thought the styles of the buildings were all over the place but tour guide was excellent. He also liked all the green space and lake/forest nearby the campus. The downtown nearby was quaint and I could see why kids love that area. He also looked at Gettysburg; felt too small and in the middle of farmland even though there is a downtown not far from campus. He didn’t apply to Providence or Gettysburg. Did apply to UMASS business school but didn’t get in.

William and Mary - our old babysitter is a graduate and she had wonderful things to say about it. We went to Colonial Williamsburg one spring break and none of my kids were impressed with the campus. Thought all the buildings looked the same and didn’t like the proximity to the tourist area. They were also a little younger so weren’t really looking at colleges at the time. I thought it was a very nice campus.

Handful of schools on her list that we didn’t see as she’s waiting to see if she gets in. My kids go to a big public high school in NJ so they were both looking for something bigger than what they already have which ruled out a lot of the smaller private schools. Hope this helps.

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Since S22 has completed his college application cycle, I thought I would provide a slightly different perspective - my own. Following are my thoughts about each of the schools we visited over the summer, written on the evening of each visit. For perspective, S22 was looking for schools with strong materials and / or nuclear engineering programs.

Northwestern: Very, very clean and manicured campus. LOVELY residential neighborhood with lots of great places to eat, shop, etc. Quiet and relaxed vibe. Loads of bike racks on campus - clearly a bike friendly environment, with electric zip bikes available at several spots on campus. Stunning setting - lake front on Lake Michigan. I could 100% see S22 enjoying this suburban campus feel. It feels safe and inviting, and a very walkable size. Update: S22 applied ED and was accepted!

One word: Gentle

Purdue: I was expecting a huge state flagship feel, with dated and industrial-esque facilities, but Purdue really surprised me. The buildings, especially the engineering quad, were beautiful and well kept, and many appeared to be brand new. Gorgeous green space with manicured lawns and landscape. It is a large campus and felt that way, especially compared to yesterday’s Northwestern tour, but for engineering students, most of their classes are held within the quad which should make getting around a bit less overwhelming. Tons of fantastic and varied food options on campus, including several chain restaurants and a full service Starbucks in about every 3rd building. 2 campus Amazon stores, Target, and 4 bookstores really placed a spotlight on the University’s size. The dorms are a mix of old, traditional non-AC buildings, and others are brand spanking new - such as the stunning Honors College dorm. My impression was that the engineering school gets a lot of love / funding from the University - their facilities appeared to be the most cutting edge and robust. The surrounding neighborhood is meh, but fine, with lots of burger and pizza joints lining the streets. In contrast, I don’t think Evanston even has a place where you could buy a burger for less than $20!

One word: Surprising

U. of Michigan: If yesterday felt big, today felt exponentially enormous. Neither S22 nor I connected with the school, and I think it primarily had to do with the overwhelming size. The campus is so spread out, and unlike Purdue, UMich doesn’t seem to have put much money into modernizing its campus. Massive scale buildings with old dirty windows and no character. The exception: the law school. Gorgeous, and the highlight of the tour (which is saying something when the undergraduate tour spotlights the law school). I also was less than impressed by the town of Ann Arbor - always a top pick for “best college town”. Just didn’t see it. Perhaps we missed the best parts? The clincher was the fact that the campus is so large, you have to take a bus to get to your classes, and I hardly see S22 standing at a bus stop in the snow waiting to shimmy his way on. It wouldn’t surprise me if UMich comes off S22’s list. Update: It was dropped from further consideration.

One word: Impersonal

MIT: Tropical storm Elsa blew through town just as we were about to take a self-guided tour. Torrential rains and flash flooding paused our trek, but by late afternoon we were able to walk the entire perimeter of campus. Unfortunately, we were not able to see the main academic quad. where most of S22’s materials science and nuclear engineering classes would be held, as it is an architectural fortress and inaccessible to the public. The overall feel of MIT was more serious than the other schools we have seen so far. Not intense or overwhelming, just serious. It could be that it is the most urban campus we have seen, surrounded by very tall buildings, less green space (although on the campus map it appears that the interior is very open and green), and more marble, or perhaps the lack of people on campus just made it feel more serious. MIT is grand and I felt small. That said, it is beautiful and regal, and you can just tell that a student would have access to the best of the best. I think I can see S22 here, but this is a school that I really feel I would need to re-visit once school was back in session and there was life happening within the marble walls. S22 liked it but said that he really didn’t get much of a vibe since we were only able to walk the perimeter and didn’t get to chat with anyone.

One word: Stoic

Columbia: Columbia was another school which surprised me in several ways. I was expecting it to be larger, more spread out, and with less green space - it’s in the middle of NYC. Interestingly, the campus was small, quiet, and nestled within a lovely neighborhood. The buildings were beautiful, but in a different way than MIT’s stoic marble structures. Columbia’s were red brick with elegant window moldings and green (metal?) roofs. Lots of trees, and 2 large parks flanking either side of campus. Every single building looked as if it leapt from the pages of Architectural Digest magazine, with the lone exception of the engineering building, which was perhaps the ugliest academic building we have seen so far. It was so bad it was funny. I thought we were walking up to the back side of the maintenance facility. Could not have looked more out of place. The campus is so cozy that it is 100% walkable. No bikes nor bike racks to be seen. In fact, from the freshman dorm at one end of campus you could clearly see the engineering building which is at the opposite end. S22 really loved the tight knit feel (so did I) but wanted more green space (which I can’t quite imagine in the middle of the world’s busiest metropolis.).

One word: Cozy

U. Penn: UPenn rivals Northwestern for the prettiest campus we have seen thus far. The buildings were varied and collegiate with beautiful walkways and historic bronze monuments. The interior of campus had stunning green space, but it is in an urban environment and S22’s perspective was “I don’t want to have to navigate crowded sidewalks and cross busy streets to get to class every day.” It has become increasingly clear that what he gravitates to are the quiet, connected campuses with leafy green quads, and no buildings over 5 or 6 stories tall. Walkable is preferred.

One word: Historic

Penn State: Another surprise! Given S22’s preferences which have become clear, and Penn State being the largest of all the schools we are touring (40,000 undergrads), I expected S22 to immediately walk away once he saw the campus map with multiple bus lines, etc…. While he may have paused at the sheer size, he quickly warmed to the natural, relaxed campus feel. No building over 5 stories, no busy traffic, nothing even remotely urban about State College. Of all the campuses we have seen, this one had the most green space, and the facilities were both beautiful and understated. It didn’t hurt that Penn State has it’s own creamery on campus, and we stopped for a quick scoop (which was delicious!). S22 really liked it, and the Schreyer’s Honors College would likely be a must-do in order to shrink the day to day reality of a 40,000 person college. I think it would also be important to re-visit when the campus is in full swing and bustling with a small city of kids.

One word: Relaxed

GA Tech: I really loved Ga Tech. It’s a beautiful, quiet campus filled with about a gazillion trees. I’m sure it rivals Vanderbilt for the highest squirrel-to-student ratio. It is a great size, with wide tree-lined walkways and hammocks nestled in bunches called “hives”. We were able to attend a live information session, and both the admissions counselor and student presenter were well spoken and wonderful ambassadors for the school. The engineering side of campus enjoys great spans of green space, newer buildings, and several cafes. The nuclear engineering building is almost hidden among the mature flowering trees. The campus has a very relaxed and happy vibe and I could absolutely see S22 thriving here. The surrounding city of mid-town Atlanta is lovely and vibrant, yet the campus proper didn’t wreak of hustle / bustle in the same way that some of the other urban campuses did. It just felt quiet and protected, and really welcoming.

On the second day, S22 and I met with the Dir. of Material Science Engineering recruitment, the Dept. Head for Nuclear Engineering, and visited the labs for both disciplines. Everyone was passionate about their work and extremely generous with their time and information. The overarching theme that I took away was that of flexibility and support. Both MSE and NE are very small departments, and as such enjoy a familial community. GA Tech as a whole focuses on giving the students as much freedom to pursue individual passions as possible, with the goal being to launch them with a broad set of personal tools to approach any complex engineering problem with confidence.

One word: Happy

Vanderbilt: Especially compared to Ga Tech’s fantastic information session, Vanderbilt’s paled in comparison. In fact, the entire session was spent explaining how to use the self-guided tour app. Only the last 20 mins were helpful in that they had a panel of enthusiastic students answering questions about their experience. Both S22 and I wished that a STEM student would have been represented on the panel, but the 3 chosen were truly great ambassadors for their school. While the info. session was a bit of a letdown, the campus itself doesn’t disappoint. S22 and I wandered the core and just marveled at how beautiful, lush and green the grounds were, and how architecturally gorgeous and well maintained the facilities were. The engineering and innovation center was stunning and modern, and the new dorms on West End were spectacular. We both truly love this school, and I think it was immensely helpful that over the past 8 or 9 years, we have spent a lot of time on campus and didn’t need much informational support to fill in the blanks (because we just didn’t get any!).

One word: Beautiful

Harvey Mudd: S22 began the day interviewing with an Admissions summer intern. She was a current junior and not the most engaging personality, but ran through the prescribed questions and looked to take a few notes. We then toured the Mudd campus with a great student guide who highlighted the brand new maker space and underground tunnel structure. The campus itself is very circa-1970 with old, dated buildings and architecture. The exception was the new computing center which was stunningly modern and gorgeous. Conversely, the dorms were the ugliest we have seen thus far and basically looked like prison halls. An information session and meeting with S22’s admission rep. concluded the official campus visit. S22 and I then met a friend of mine who works for Mudd (nothing to do with Admissions) for lunch and enjoyed a fantastic real-world account of life at Mudd. After digesting all of our encounters, the messaging that became clear throughout the day was that Mudd is academically extremely challenging, and the mantra “Study, Sleep, Socialize - pick 2” seems to be rooted in some amount of truth. I’m certain that S22 would walk away with a phenomenal education, but at what cost? S22’s take away was that his strong time management skills would carry him through the academic challenges, but that he would have to work really hard to schedule time for relaxation, fun, and sleep. He doesn’t want to work that hard 24/7. The biggest benefit that I saw was the Claremont consortium and the beautiful town of Claremont. Nestled in a very nice residential area, the 5 schools share one campus, multiple facilities, and a quiet location. Unfortunately, I don’t think S22 would have time to take advantage of these things, and as such Mudd probably fell on S22’s list.

One word: Consuming

Santa Clara: August 26, 2021. I believe that Santa Clara is the smallest of the schools we have visited so far, or at least it felt that way. A lovely school with new, modern-California architecture, Santa Clara delivered exactly what I expected. A kind, welcoming environment and a simple, relaxed approach. Particular highlights were the restaurant-style dining hall with its varied and themed cuisine stations, the large, clean dorms with an abundance of living configurations (for all grades, not just upperclassmen), and the extraordinary new engineering hub. A $300 million investment places these engineering spaces among the best we have seen. The negative is that because the school is small, it doesn’t have some of the nuanced amenities or curricula that larger schools often have. Neither materials nor nuclear engineering are offered, and while there are rumblings that with this new and expansive hub may come additional fields of study, it would take years to develop reputational strength and recognition. S22 really liked the relaxed feel of the school, but preferred the amenities and academic strength of some of the others on his list. To me, it felt like the collegiate version of his high school.

One word: Simple

Stanford: After touring Santa Clara in the morning, S22 and I enjoyed a quick lunch at the Stanford Shopping Mall before embarking on a self-guided tour of Stanford. Since we have been on campus several times previously, we just needed a map and a bottle of water. What I don’t recall from our previous visits was how overwhelmingly large the campus felt. Maybe it was the heat, maybe we just parked at the furthest possible point from the engineering quad, but today Stanford’s walkability felt unrealistic. A bike or motorized scooter seemed mandatory in order to make it to class. The architecture is insanely gorgeous and you would never tire of the view, but S22 remarked that while there is a ton of green space, there aren’t many shade trees, especially on the newer engineering quad. Honestly, I think I like the idea of Stanford perhaps more than the actual institution itself. Somehow 4 years seems like a very long time here.

One word: Sprawling

UC Berkeley: This was an interesting day. Not what I expected in many ways, but exactly what I had read about in others. Overall, Berkeley would provide S22 with a wonderful education, but each part of his life on campus would be stressed. First, academically, there aren’t enough teachers to offer reasonably-sized classes. Our tour guide explained that funding limitations meant that most of the freshman classes would have over 1,000 students enrolled, but that there aren’t any lecture halls large enough to accommodate everyone “…so, the professors ask that all students who don’t really need to be in attendance watch the recorded lectures online”. Residentially, there isn’t enough housing for the freshmen, and none for sophomores, juniors, or seniors. By lottery, some freshmen are asked to find housing off campus. That is of course an issue when you don’t know anyone to be your roommate, don’t know the surrounding area (which is a bit sketchy), and can’t have a car since there isn’t parking available for students. Plus, the campus is very hilly and you would need some sort of motorized device to get you to class on time. The problem is, our tour guide said that motorized bikes will be stolen, so don’t bring one. All in all, Berkeley represented what a state-funded school in California offers - fantastic teaching but with a long list of negatives to go along with it.

One word: Stressed

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This was so very interesting to read; you should write a guidebook! My S22 applied to many of the schools noted here and we haven’t visited but two so this is really helpful. Thanks for taking the time to write this, it is very thoughtfully done. I only wished we had looked at Northwestern more seriously based on your review!

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Great write-up @Hopeful0304. Very helpful, and nice to read this from a parent’s perspective.

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@Hopeful0304:

One word: Honesty

Great post ! Thank you for being direct & honest. Really enjoyed reading your reviews.

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Love your notes, and love the idea of one word to sum up impression made by the school campus.

Also, so glad and so very surprised to see 'Happy" as you described GaTech. Wow!

S15 is GT grad in CS, that would not be a word he would describe the place, but I am excited things are changing! Campus is absolutely beautiful in Spring and Fall.

Thank you!

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So well-written! You captured our impressions of Northwestern, Michigan, and Purdue entirely. Congratulations on the ED acceptance to NU! We are local and I can assure you the beauty of the lake will be stunning year after year :slight_smile:

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You know that old saying that NYC is a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there? Ann Arbor is the opposite - it is a very nice place to live but I wouldn’t want to visit there. :rofl:

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Thank you. My D22 only applied to one of these schools and your one word was mine, too. Still, she loved the vibe so we’ll see. Congrats on Northwestern!

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Personally, Richmond felt to preppy and didn’t like how you can’t be apart of the business school freshman year. Cornell felt to spread out, not walkable, and cold. American had a beautiful campus however I felt it didn’t focus much on business and just didn’t see myself there. BU is close to home. Haverford was too small and I had a bad tour.

I had a great tour at Syracuse and loved that it was a big school but had a great small community feel. I had a great tour and all the students looked happy and I could envision myself there, especially for the Whitman School. I visited Villanova twice and the second time for a guided tour which was fantastic. The school is the perfect size, campus is beautiful, and business school is great. Fordham (Rose Hill) was the most impressive for me. Has a fantastic location in NYC. It felt like I was an oasis in the city. Great business school, great connections, and beautiful green and happy campus. Only downside is the food. Fairfield had a great campus, strong community feel, lovely resources, and a 1 hour train ride away from NYC. I never got to tour the inside of NYU but I love the location. I was able to talk with a student in the program I’m interested in at Stern, Business, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, and that specific program had my name written all over it. I applied right away. Hope that helps!!

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Regarding American University that was one that was crossed off the list after visiting. The info session was the most boring of all tours (a boring presenter just reading a powerpoint), so that got it off to a bad start. The tour guide was quirky which we can totally look beyond, but nothing stood out as great or exciting; campus seemed a little small. Note: My son was not a poli sci major or completely set on DC, that would have changed the opinion I’m sure. One word: Underwhelming*

*I think the “one word” would be a fun new thread

We also visited Georgetown on the same visit, I can’t remember before or after, but I agree with another poster that this might have tainted the AU visit a bit which is not really fair.

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Thank you for posting - Shared your post to my spouse, as we are familiar with a few of these campuses and DS is interested in visiting a few others.

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Between my two kids, we toured so many of the same schools and I really enjoyed your take on each campus.

Congrats to your son on Northwestern! My S22 also was accepted ED to NU last month… go Wildcats!

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Mercyhurst- up. We were a bit wary of the Erie weather, and we ended up there in a blizzard type storm, but she loved it anyway. The place looks a bit like Hogwarts, and the teachers she interacted with were all amazing.

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Hopeful, Congratulations on your son being accepted by Northwestern!

Note that Northwestern provides easy access to Chicago and all the cultural, entertainment and shopping amenities the city provides. There is a train line in Evanston that goes right downtown. I am not sure where your son wants to land geographically (there are not many nuclear engineering programs, so they probably send grads all over the country), but Northwestern is the gold standard in the Chicago area, like Stanford in CA or the Ivys in the northeast. My niece graduated from NU around five years ago, and she loved it there.

I really liked your tour comments. My son is also applying for materials science engineering- there don’t seem to be many of them! My son also applied to several of the schools on your list, but ultimately we never toured any of them (except Northwestern years ago as I went there) so he did not feel comfortable doing ED. I was wondering- did you consider Rice, and if you did, why did your son take it off the list.

Go CATS!

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