Ithaca College Visit

<p>I just returned from a somewhat nontraditional visit to Ithaca College - I visited for the first time during Transfer Student Orientation. My daughter is transferring from the University of South Carolina and will be a sophmore.</p>

<p>We arrived the night before, traveling through the bucolic and cow-filled countryside. We had dinner at a Thai restaurant in downtown Ithaca, on the pedestrian mall known as the Commons. We sat outside which gave us a good opportunity to people watch. An excellent band was playing as part of a summer concert series. Most of the people walking by were of the alternative sort. (Being from Massachusetts, the crowd reminded us somewhat of Northampton.) This was also reflected in the restaurant menus, where a significant number of the entrees were vegetarian or even vegan.</p>

<p>Ithaca is a cute town and actually smaller than I thought it would be. It is extremely hilly as advertised.</p>

<p>Ithaca College sits atop one of these substantial hills on the outskirts of town. Because of the steepness of the hill, it is not particularly within walking distance of town. The county busline is well established and runs on the half hour or so from campus.</p>

<p>The campus is rather utilitarian in appearance, although it does have a beautiful view of Lake Cayuga. (Per a member of the crew team, the lake is 2 1/2 miles away - they run to the lake as part of their crew practice). Pretty much all the buildings appear to have been put up within the past 30-40 years, so there is not much of the traditional brick with ivy collegiate look. Walking around requires a fair amount of going up and down steps. The grounds were well kept. </p>

<p>Friday we attended the orientation session. Approximately 100 transfer students were in attendance. The welcome speech given by the provost went in to some detail about his own experiences as a transfer student. The orientation leaders introduced themselves and highlighted their interests so that we could follow up with them later (as I did with the crew team member.) </p>

<p>Following the welcome, the parents went off to the appropriate school for an academic orientation (Park School in my case). The Park student guiding us showed us around a bit. He was visibly enthusiastic and pleased with his major (film). The Associate Dean gave a talk which gave many examples of how the school goes out of its way to help students and keep them on track. I also learned that the transfer students had already been preregistered students for some classes, which was a relief as I knew some were closed out.</p>

<p>After the academic orientation we learned more about housing. (My daughter will not get a room assignment until July.) They are still dealing with a room shortage due to the overenrollment for what will be this fall's sophmore class. We shall see if my daughter manages to get her preferred room (single).</p>

<p>We continued on to lunch. My fellow parents were friendly. A number of students were transferring in from community colleges. Other transfer out schools included Univ of Rhode Island, Boston Univ, Arcadia and University of Puerto Rico. Most families appeared to be from New York state.</p>

<p>After lunch there was an organizational fair where I spoke briefly with a representative from Career Services. Ithaca appears to be focused on preparing students to be hire-able on graduation, which I think is a good thing. The rep told me about a spring internship and job fair organized by a local college consortium and also recommended my daughter take Ad Lab during her college career. Apparently Ad Lab gives students the opportunity to compete in competition to prepare a real-world ad campaign. (Ithaca students participating in this came up with the idea for the mini Snickers bar.)</p>

<p>All in all I was impressed by the personal touch shown by those I encountered at Ithaca. My sense is that they are committed to helping students get the most, both socially and academically, from their Ithaca College experience.</p>