Experience Iowa State Days

We are looking at attending one of the Experience Day’s this summer. Anyone have any experience with one of these events. If you attended, did you feel you were able to get a good feel for the university? We’ve always tried to do visits when school is in session and students are on campus to get a feel for the campus vibe. Since these are in the summer before kids are back my D’s concern is she won’t get a good vibe.

One thing we’ve seen with her is she is paying attention to the activity level of the campus. Being an OOS student she doesn’t want a campus were everyone goes home on the weekends. From what we’ve seen on line and with the virtual tour this school seems to hit a lot of what she is wanting in a school.

I don’t go there, but I know a lot of people who go there. I’m actually visiting in 2 weeks. From what I’ve heard from my friends who go there, the night life is great there and not really anyone goes home on weekends. There are lots of things to do. It’s a college town so you can’t expect anything like a University Of Chicago experience where you’re in a big city, but there is lots to do. I’ve seen videos and heard that there are lots of lakes/rivers nearby and there are a lot of extracurriculars. I’m from Illinois, so I’d compare it to a sort of UIUC experience in the college town manner.

For reference, I have 2 family friends who go there for engineering and this is what they’ve told me. Good luck!

True, the university won’t be teaming with its 30,000 students, but I still think you’ll get a good feel for the campus and the type of students who are attending the visit day with you. We were there last week for orientation and the dining hall was crazy busy with other students attending orientation and younger students attending various camps. I think it is a nice chance to get another visit under your belt, and not have to take a day out of school. You could always visit again in the fall.

Thanks for the response. It’s a 7.5 hour drive for us so trying to fit another visit in might be a challenge but possible. We have friends in Iowa City who have a daughter at ISU so we’ve talked to them about what the campus and school is like. The schedule for the visit looks pretty full and I’m assuming will be similar to what we’ve done at a couple of other schools. We will spending two nights in Ames, is there any must see places that would give us a feel for the surrounding area? Places to eat, sights to see, etc. outside of just the campus tour.

Update: We just came back from our visit to ISU on Friday. We drove around the campus a little the night we arrived to town to figure out where we were going and was surprised by the size of the campus.

On Friday we attended the Experience Iowa State day events. Most of the kids were from Iowa as expected but there was a fair amount from Minnesota and Illinois there as well. A few others from Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and then 1 from California and us from Indiana. Typical events as we’ve had at other schools, general information session, student panel which was actually pretty good and then the tours of the campus and academic sessions.

The meeting with the adviser was actually very good and I thought her information was more helpful than others we’ve been to and my D is now saying this is were she wants to go after seeing the school and talking to the adviser.

Despite it being summer, the campus had some activity which is normally a good sign for us OOS people. The campus is beautiful as well and we thought the town and area’s surrounding campus were very nice. Having been to many campus visits, ISU has to rank right up there with the most beautiful campuses I’ve visited. We may look to do another visit during the school year when students are on campus in the future but we really liked what we heard and saw on our visit.

@dcolosi So glad you and your D liked the campus and enjoyed your visit!

My son will be a sophomore this year at Iowa State University. We are from California (Bay Area) and have been very impressed by this school. The Administration has been top notched and communication is excellent ! My son loves the food on campus and is extremely happy ! The town of Ames is a great college town and the community is very supportive and super friendly. The School of Engineering has a very good reputation and has an excellent career fair that happens two times a year.

@dcolosi thank you for sharing your experience! We’re going to be going to an Experience Iowa State event and it’s helpful to know what to expect.

Do you recall what some of the options were for the afternoon sessions? (Were they mostly for learning more about different academic departments?)

Our youngest son is from Phoenix. He graduates this December with a degree in materials engineering. He loves ISU.

@myrna97 I think I still have the schedule at home so I can look tonight. Most of the morning you are in the Union for the information sessions and student panel. You are then broken up into groups and you go to your area of interest so for us we went to the Design school. I would say about half of the entire group was there for Engineering. At that morning academic session you meet with advisers for your interested major and then they take you to a dinning hall for lunch.

There was a campus tour right after lunch and then they have three different sessions in the afternoon. Most of the academic sessions were at 2:10 so we went to the Design school and took the tour of the facilities. The 1:10 session I seem to remember being more sessions like financial aid and things along that line. In the afternoon, we only did the session at 2:10. We spent the other two sessions to walk around, go to the bookstore, check out the Rec Facilities, etc. We also walk over to one of the dorms where they had a display room open. Typical dorm room, nothing special. If anything I would say ISU is a bit behind when it comes to dorms from the other schools we’ve seen.

Being from OOS we also took some time to walk around Campustown and where the Greek houses are located. There is also a section of campus that is South of the main area where there are a few dorms and then I think the cross country fields. Almost didn’t realize that part was there. We also took some time to drive around Ames to see what was around as far as shopping and dinning options. Looks like the Cyride buses pretty much cover the entire city.

It looked to me like a lot of people had left after that 2:10 academic session because by that time you’ve done a lot of walking and get pretty tired. We are thinking of coming back in October when we have our HS Fall break. We really want to see the campus when students are back so she can see it full of activity.

@dcolosi Thank you, that is very helpful.

We’re OOS too so we will probably take some time to explore the area as well.

Re: CyRide, we actually just got a letter the other day (which seems to go out to families of admitted students) from the City of Ames welcoming us and talking about the city, including CyRide which they seem very proud of, saying it’s one of the few communities where people truly don’t need a car.

CyRide and the Nextbus app shows you the routs and gives you real time status of the buses. I was checking it out yesterday. Students say the bus takes you to the front doors of Target so they all seemed excited about that. I can see where you really wouldn’t need a car to get around Ames.

The first night we were there we ate at Hickory Park which is apparently the place to go. It was decent food and really good prices. Worth trying out. Lincoln Ave takes you from the Union on Campus to the downtown Ames area and then there seemed to be plenty of little shops and places to eat on Main Street one block north in the downtown area. We just drove through and didn’t stop as we were pretty exhausted by that time.

We stayed at the FairField Inn and it was nice and clean and easy to get to the University from there. Really, its pretty easy to get anywhere in town.

I really wanted to take DS20 to this last Friday, but it was the only week of the summer both my boys were free and we haven’t been on a vacation in two years, so I took them to Yellowstone instead. No regrets. We’ll get down there one of these days as it’s only about a 4 hour drive for us.

And what is it with college kids and Target? LOL DS was absolutely thrilled that Duluth had a bus dedicated just to shuttle back and forth from Target.

@cshell2 LOL - I have to laugh about your Target comment! My DS also loves Target. I asked him what he and his friend did the other night when they were hanging out - he said they ate dinner at Noodles and went to Target :slight_smile:

We ended up attending an Experience Iowa State day and I would definitely recommend it for anyone considering Iowa State. I think we may go back for a second visit at some point during the school year, and closer to decision day, but this was very helpful in determining that the school will stay on the list.

Everything was well-organized and easy to follow, with guides physically walking our group between the morning sessions so no one got lost.

There was a ton of useful information, and we got a lot of questions answered. We ended up being able to attend a second academic information session in another area of interest during the afternoon, and the advisor took a lot of time with us to help us understand the options our student has.

It probably helped that it was a beautiful summer day but the campus was gorgeous; the virtual tour we’d looked at beforehand didn’t do it justice. The large grassy central area makes the buildings a little farther apart (we did a lot of walking!) but it also contributes to the beauty.

We were tired (and hot) enough by the end that we decided to leave a little early instead of staying to attend a study abroad session or view a dorm room. Instead we beat the rush to Hickory Park and had some ice cream.

Glad to hear you enjoyed the visit. Our experience was very similar. The virtual tour doesn’t come close to doing this campus justice. We are planning on going back as well in the fall to see the campus when it is full of activity.

The green space on this campus is amazing and it is a lot larger than we thought as well. I’ve also joined the parents FB page and am learning more about what its like to attend. The only negative I am seeing is the annual tuition increases so while I’m not crazy about that, at least I can budget for it knowing that it seems to be an annual thing for this school.

I must say, I’m also pretty impressed by the communications from both the City of Ames and the school itself since our visit and my D’s acceptance to the school.