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

Dominican University of California:
Went down a bit. D thought it sounded wonderful on paper and thought it had a pretty campus. When we visited she thought the campus was pretty, but felt that the school was way too small and didn’t offer a ton of majors. She still applied though. But, didn’t end up attending. Their financial aid offer was poor, we were in that awkward doughnut hole position, where we earn too much for the good need-based aid, but it’s still a stretch to pay the tuition. Oh well, my D had lots of other good choices and she wasn’t super enthusiastic about attending anyway.

S toured it as well and thought the campus was too small as well.

San Diego State: Moved up for both D and S. Yes, it’s a big impacted school. But both my kids were impressed by the campus and the majors they had on offer.

University of San Francisco: For D it moved down after visiting. She still applied, but thought the buildings on campus were ugly and not very inviting. S didn’t apply, though he did visit campus when we toured with D


Moved up:
CSU Channel Islands: We had heard of the school, but had never been there. D applied as a safety and was somewhat interested in attending, but we never made it up there to tour. For S, we had the time to tour and we were very impressed. First off the campus is very pretty, quiet and well-kept. Most of the buildings on campus are in the Spanish mission style (painted white with red tile roofs) that us Californians are very familiar with. I personally love that style of architecture. It reminded me of a winery that H and I visited once. I love the fact that it’s a public school, but it’s not too big. The tour guide was friendly, knowledgeable, and was a big booster for the school. It’s nice to have a guide who you can tell really loves the school and really wants to be there.
It’s a great value school, it’s small and if you live in California, you can’t beat the in-state price. It seems like a hidden gem and I think it would be the perfect school for a lot of kids.
The only downside is that the campus is somewhat isolated, it’s surrounded by hills and growing fields. You would need a car to get into Camarillo and Oxnard.

Whittier: moved up for both D and S. Both of them originally dismissed Whittier and wouldn’t look at it. Keep in mind, despite the fact that we live about 20 mins away, neither one of kids had really been to Whittier. They’d just driven by it on the freeway. We went to tour and we were very impressed. The campus was nicer then we thought it would be, though a bit old. For D, we were the only people on the tour, so we essentially had a private experience. The tour and info were informative and everyone we met was friendly and eager to answer our questions. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and when she didn’t know the answer to a question I asked, she asked around and found the answer for me. D ended up applying, but didn’t attend as she wanted a larger school. That said, there were a lot of things she liked about it and it was a good fit finance wise as they were quite generous with financial aid. Oh well, she found a school she really liked, but Whittier was definitely a strong contender!

S liked Whittier, but didn’t like it as much as D did. He definitely liked it more after touring it. He didn’t end up attending, but I think touring it made him consider it as an option.

Stayed the same/neutral:
St. Mary’s College of California: The campus is very pretty and very well kept. The only issue is that it’s a bit isolated, students would need a car to get into the nearby town or to get elsewhere, even the BART station. The other issue was that our tour guide, focused only on what the campus social life was like and seemed uninterested. Oh well. My D applied but it wasn’t her top choice. S didn’t apply.


Based on my daughter’s experience (she didn’t end up going there though) those stats would probably give about $23k at UMiami since that’s what she got for the same stats not too long ago.


Thank you, that’s very helpful!

some of the schools we visited in the summer:

Oregon State - up. Full day tour, exceeded our expectations and was a surprise hit. S toured all the departments he was interested in and the honors college. Loved the campus. Loved the hands on programs for first year engineering and first year business / entrepreneurship. Impressed by facilities. Student tour guides and the students we met in the honors college were funny, relaxed, interesting. Students seemed happy and the general vibe felt accepting, collaborative. S also got to talk to a few professors. He pretty much loved everything about OSU except the smaller size of Corvallis (seemed like a perfectly fine college town, but he would like to be in a bigger city).

UW Seattle - up. Slightly better than expectations. S loved the urban location and the campus was prettier and greener than he expected. Felt relatively lively and busy even in the summer. Seemed more intense than OSU, but S liked the vibe here as well. Student presenters and tour guides were very polished but also felt genuine to S. He could see himself going to this school. It was hot that day and I did not walk around the campus with him, so I can’t comment on much.

U Puget Sound - down and off the list. S was attracted by UPS being billed as an urban school. We stayed overnight in downtown Tacoma and had a great time, then drove over to UPS prepared to love the school, but it turned out to be in a more suburban location and felt very small to S. None of the students we met seemed very energized or thrilled about their school, maybe they were having a bad day or S just wasn’t lucky enough to talk to students who clicked with him. During the admissions presentation, the student presenter talked about outcomes after graduation, then (I’m paraphrasing as I don’t remember his exact wording), “these numbers show that even if you go to a school like this, you can still have a great career” (emphasis mine) ??? S also toured the music building and liked that aspect of the school, but ultimately decided UPS was not for him, and decided that he didn’t want to look at any more schools of this size.

UBC - up. Slightly better than expectations. Campus seemed nice although it felt slightly sprawling (this school is huge). Distance from urban center of Vancouver is not ideal for S, but the school still has an “urban” vibe. Facilities seemed good. School felt busy and lively even in the summer. Tasty lunch at a cafe on campus. S particularly liked the students he talked to, and felt that he got a good feel for his probable major choice (he was able to speak to some students in that major). He got the impression of a diverse and international student body (something he wants), while he also felt that he fit in with the other students. I noticed a number of students with similar personal style to S, which probably helped him feel that he fit there.


It’s a great school and a nice campus. We know someone who works at Chapman and both her kids got in and they got a huge discount on tuition because the parent works there. Her D went to Chapman over USC because the discount made it much cheaper. We’ve had students from my private school who’ve gone to Chapman and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

Oregon State has become much more popular at the school I work at in recent years. We’ve had more kids apply in recent years. We have two 2022 grads who are starting at Oregon State this year. I believe one of them was recruited for sports.


My D started at SDSU this fall and is loving it. Wasn’t her first choice but I would say she is trilled it’s where she landed. She says everyone she has met is super friendly, and she loves her teachers so far.


That’s great! We’ve known people over the years who’ve gone to SDSU and they’ve all had good experiences from what I remember! Neither one of my kids ended up attending, but I think they would’ve both been happy there.

my kid is in her senior year at WVU; not that program, but happy to talk via DM if you need more info/perspective.

Also, found this info on WVU law school tuition:
Non-residents who graduate from a public or private higher education institution in West Virginia are eligible for in-state tuition from WVU Law.


Visited Gettysburg this past week. Totally moved up on the list! Was extremely pleasantly surprised at how spread out the campus was how friendly the student body was. Wasn’t initially even on DS’ list but now it has moved to the top! So glad we decided to make the trip.


We did our first two college visits with my DS (class of 2024) this summer. The intent was to visit two schools in the same general geographic area that were different enough from one another in terms of size, programs, vibe that he could start to see which types of schools seemed most appealing.

First up was Bard College. We visited in late August, when the only students on campus were first-years embarking on the college’s 3-week Language and Thinking seminar. The campus is sprawling and the tour only covers a central area, so if you go you may want to supplement with a self-guided tour to the far reaches of campus (where the music center is, for example). The campus was a bit overgrown during our visit which added to the dark academia aesthetic–lots of rambling ivy and wooded groves with places to sit. Every student on the tour fit into the quirky/artsy/creative category. Our tour guides were great. One was a basketball athlete and philosophy major from the Dominican Republic and the other was a Midwestern computer science and math major. The tour was engaging and highlighted the unique aspects of the Bard College curriculum progression as well as opportunities for undergraduate level research. At the conclusion of the student-led tour an Admissions rep met with the group to discuss the different pathways to admission. Bard has a couple of unique offerings in admissions such as “immediate decision” and an entrance exam. My kid liked the tour and the programming but he also commented about how rural the campus felt.

An hour later we went on tour at Marist College. This was a completely different campus vibe–with every inch well manicured and polished. The admissions staff showed tour participants a 15 minute video in a small theater in the student center, and then gave an additional 15 minute presentation before sending us out with student tour guides. The tour itself focused on some of the pre-professional programs and resources on campus–such as a the “boutique” that fashion and merchandising students can run during the school year, the stock market floor replica that business students use, and the human cadaver labs for medical sciences students. The students in our tour group were decidedly more “mainstream” than the Bard crowd, and were primarily interested in business and communications. My kid was impressed that the dining hall has a sushi station and loved that he would get unlimited meal swipes as a freshman (he takes that as a personal challenge to eat as much as possible, it sounds like).

Our take-aways were that the Bard tour focused on the intellectual/curricular pursuits available, while the Marist tour focused on the student services and facilities available.

Bard moved onto his official list.
Marist is still a maybe.


At the Naval Academy now. S25 was interested before we came, now he wishes he could apply asap. His grandpa is a class of ‘66 grad and we are at a football game. I can totally see him here. And my bank account would be grateful.


Go Blue Hens!!

A post was merged into an existing topic: Off-Topic Discussion from “Colleges Crossed Off List or Moved Up After Visiting”

Oberlin - UP. Literally, “I liked it more than I thought I would.”
She noted that the students seemed friendly and were often in pairs or small groups. The level of “quirkiness” seemed the same as her high school, and she saw girls who seemed to dress/style themselves like her (natural hair color, band t-shirt, flare jeans). She appreciated the coffee/art/thrift/vintage shops in town. Really liked the idea of winter term. Loved Tappan Square - the tour guide told us it was designed by the same guy who did Central Park.
The info session was valuable - I’m realizing D24 gets much more out of those than reading a web site (lines up with how virtual school was rough for her). The tour brought us into to the science building, environmental studies building, the library and a dorm room - but only briefly. Otherwise, we were outside. Tour guide was a senior and did a good job providing extra stories along with the required bullet points.
My observation is that we only saw a lot of students lined up at the coffee shop that is inside the library. The campus otherwise seemed pretty quiet. Classes had started for the year. D24 decided that meant the campus wasn’t crowded.
Also, I keep noting on this and other boards that the students are soooo progressive, to an off-putting level. I have no idea what they are seeing! There is a big push to be carbon-neutral by 2025. That seems to be more about facilities usage. D24 is not a rabid activist, and I think she’d be very comfortable at Oberlin.
Her one drawback: access to Cleveland. If the school ever adds a free (or even cheap) shuttle to downtown, I think that would be a huge plus.


Did you make it to those two? We loved Elon, though he thinks it is too small. Baylor and TCU are on is longer list. Hopefully we will get a chance to check them out.

We went to Baylor and D loved it. It’s in her top group. Skipped TCU because the net price came out much higher than Baylor for us. Went to Trinity instead which D also loved.

Sounds like D is the opposite of your son, she’s worried that Baylor is too big :slight_smile:

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My son is a freshman at Baylor this year and loves it. He found the size fits him well - not huge but not tiny either. Baylor does a great job of making students feel welcome and integrating them into the community.

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Did final visits with my senior to W&M and CNU. W&M moved up and CNU moved down and off the list.

W&M - loved the campus and strong focus on undergrad research, the forest and lake on campus for environmental science program. Friendly people, little shopping area nearby. Pretty much hits everything she wants except maybe bigger than preferred (she’s mainly applying to LACs).

CNU - she hated the campus, felt it was too shiny-new and sterile vs. the old, tree-shaded campus of W&M. While CNU has an environmental biology program and master’s (she wants to do environmental sciences/biology) it didn’t feel like the sciences were a big focus and we didn’t even get to see a science building on the tour. Also, while the stats I’d read showed not a large % of students do Greek life, it felt much more prominent than expected since all of the 8 tour guides were in Greek life. CNU might want to think about that diversity!


What does CNU stand for?