Spring Break College Visit Trip - NY State

<p>I'm taking my junior S East to visit colleges over Spring Break, which for us is early April. We're flying into Boston and visiting colleges there for a couple of days, then driving west, ending up in Ithaca on Thurs. evening. Fri. morning we will tour Cornell, then fly to NYC. One full day in NYC, where he's never been, then we fly home on Sunday. </p>

<p>I'm tempted to fly out of Ithaca mid-afternoon so that we have all of Fri. evening in NYC, but I'm wondering if we should take our time and do some sightseeing there so that he can get a feeling for the area. Cornell is a reach for him, but I think the school might appeal to him if he can get his mind around the weather (he is a California boy at heart). </p>

<p>For those of you who know the area, what should we be looking at in Ithaca besides the Cornell campus? Is it worth sacrificing an evening in the Big Apple?</p>

<p>Also, he plays jazz/rock guitar and would love to go to a club. Any place in NYC that I could take a minor to?</p>

<p>theres also ithaca college in ithaca ny, and if cornell is a reach ithaca would be a good safety probably and if he attends ithaca he can cross register at cornell.</p>

<p>but nyc...its hard to top there</p>

<p>Just a point of reference, there is no airport in Ithaca. I believe you have to drive to Syracuse which is about 50 miles away.</p>

<p>S is interested in ME, so we're only looking at schools with strong schools of Engineering.</p>

<p>Ithaca Thompkins Airport is a few miles north of Cornell.</p>

<p>I think you should also look at Colgate and Hamilton while you are in Ithaca. My daughter is at Cornell and my H and I went to Colgate. If Cornell is a reach for him, then Colgate and Hamilton may be possibilities for him. Colgate is a smaller version of Cornell. </p>

<p>I would drive to NYC rather then fly. It's only 3.5 to 4 hr drive, while it may take much longer to fly.<br>
I would fly to Boston and fly out of Newark.</p>

<p>Sorry, I missed the Engineering part. Never mind Colgate and Hamilton, but Colgate has a combined engineering program with Columbia that may be worth looking into.</p>

<p>Ooops, didn't realize that Ithaca Thompkins had flights to NYC. </p>

<p>Does he have any interest in looking at Columbia's engineering school while in New York?</p>

<p>If it fits with your timing, and you were planning to ditch the rental car in Ithaca anyway at the airport, then perhaps the bus from Ithaca into NYC would give you time to see the surrounding landscape. It's basically rolling hills. The drive is around 4 hours to the heart of NYC, I think.</p>

<p>MarinMom, we're from the East Bay and did the drive from NYC to Cornell and back in one day a year ago Thanksgiving. My daughter was appalled that we followed a tractor(!) for approximately 10 miles on the drive in--be prepared for culture shock. (However, Cornell is still her 1st or 2nd choice.) I would think that after all of that driving from Boston west, you wouldn't need to drive to New York, but I'm also guessing that the plane out of Ithaca would be a puddle jumper. I vote for the plane.</p>

<p>The drive from Ithaca to Manhattan is between 5 and 6 hours, depending on how fast you drive. My husband found it easier to drive from Ithaca to Beacon, and then take the train from Beacon into the city on days he had to be in NYC. Made for a long day; he did this 6-8 times a year for years. Our house in Maryland is closer to NYC than his house in Ithaca was.</p>

<p>Too bad you will not be in Ithaca on a farmer's market day! Ithaca has a great farmer's market; I don't know a lot of people in Ithaca, but even <em>I</em> run into people I know at the Farmer's Market (<a href="http://www.ithacamarket.com/home.php)%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.ithacamarket.com/home.php)&lt;/a>. The Museum of the Earth (Welcome</a> to the Museum of the Earth) is interesting, as are the many beautiful natural spots in and around Ithaca, such as any of the many falls (Ithaca [<a href="http://gowaterfalling.com/waterfalls/ithaca.shtml%5D%5B/url"&gt;http://gowaterfalling.com/waterfalls/ithaca.shtml][/url&lt;/a&gt;], Taughannock, Buttermilk, and so on). </p>

<p>Of course, none of this is NYC, but it's easier to get from almost anywhere to NYC than it is to get from almost anywhere to Ithaca...</p>

<p>Have you looked at Union in guide books? It's a lovely school less selective than Cornell but still quite rigorous. It is also very pretty.</p>

<p>The Cornell campus is beautiful. Of course it all depends on the weather. There are trails, gorges (no, I'm not going to make THAT joke), a cascade. Cornell is in the middle of the Finger Lakes so there is beautiful scenery. You can drive around and see the lakes.</p>

<p>However, you won't be sorry to have extra time in NYC!</p>

<p>Cornell parent here.</p>

<p>There's not a huge amount of sightseeing to do in the immediate vicinity of Cornell. Life at Cornell is mostly campus-centered, not centered on a city, the way it is for many students in Boston or NYC.</p>

<p>What I think was most important to my daughter when she visited Cornell for the first time was to see that there was some degree of civilization available.</p>

<p>Even if you just drive through the areas briefly, seeing that a mall and a downtown actually exist may be reassuring. Tell your son that he can easily get to both places on the public buses. </p>

<p>Also, make sure to eat in one of the two North Campus dining halls (North Campus is where the freshmen live; there are two dining halls, one in Appel Commons and one in Robert Purcell Community Center). You can pay for meals in cash (or by credit card). The food is excellent and the variety is enormous. Cornell is one of the few colleges in existence where some students who live off-campus stay on the meal plan voluntarily.</p>

<p>If you're visiting colleges in April, make sure you check with each college to make sure that your visit does not conflict with their special visiting days for accepted students. At some campuses, no public tours or information sessions are conducted on accepted students days so that the staff can focus solely on the special programs for the accepted students.</p>

<p>Where are you staying in Ithaca? Staying at the Statler Hotel on campus, pricey tho it is, gives you a perfect base to really see the school -- important if you have limited time.</p>

<p>Cornell is a very lovely place ... just be sure to be dressed warmly enough to appreciate it. Windbreaker/fleece will probably do it. Pack a scarf and gloves just in case!</p>

<p>We go to Cornell several times in the spring for lacrosse games, and it has to be late April before we leave the winter gear home. Even in May, it may not be warm enough for shorts in the stadium!</p>

<p>Cornell parent #2</p>

<p>On Thursday evening, go out in Ithaca and see the Commons. There are a lot of good restaurants, so save your evening meal for here. </p>

<p>Take your tour, etc., on Friday, and eat on campus- as mentioned, the north campus area is a good one to concentrate on, but the dining halls close after lunch. The Ivy Room on mid-campus is open all afternoon. Let your son wander around campus on his own. Finally, if the weather is decent, take a hike up the gorge trail between the town and the school. </p>

<p>I like your plan to turn in the car and fly to NYC. You'll be happy to be done with the driving, and can get a fresh, early start the next day. The airport is only a 10-15 minute drive from north campus.</p>

<p>If you can't get a reasonable flight out of Ithaca to NYC, drive the hour or so to Syracuse and fly from there. On the other hand, the drive from Ithaca to NYC is 4 hours with the current speed limits. My sister drives to the City via Pennsylvania and it takes her the same 4 hours from her house in Ithaca as it takes me to reach her from Westchester via Thruway, Routes 17 and 81... I agree with the plan to head to the Commons for dinner Thursday and see Cornell on Friday. Then head on out to NYC. However, if Union appeals, then drive from Ithaca to Albany, see Union on Saturday morning and drive the 2.5 hours to NYC for the rest of your weekend.</p>

<p>jetblue from syracuse may not be much cheaper than flying directly out of Ithaca. I just checked sites from Jetblue and US Air.<br>
If your trip corresponds to Cornell Days ( usually early April after acceptances are sent out), it may be hard getting a room in Ithaca.
Trust me, Ithaca hotel rooms fill up quickly when there are college events.<br>
I made my kids graduation reservation when we dropped her off for freshman orientation.
Yes, in Ithaca NY, you can make hotel reservations 4 years ahead for graduation. They have built a few new hotels, but in the "busy season" it can be a challenge to get a hotel room. If you know the date you are going to be in Ithaca, I suggest you book now before the acceptances are sent out and all the HS seniors head to Cornell to check out the campus.<br>
If you can spend Thursday night in the downtown area (Commons) and Friday touring the campus, he'll get a feel for Cornell.
Honestly, my kid did not "fall in love" with the campus until her third trip. I know alot of kids who just find the campus too big and hilly.<br>
Try to set him up with a tour of the engineering school. Cornell can be quite confusing. They have a general campus tour and specific college tours.</p>

<p>ok- I just went to the Cornell engineering website. They do have an admission session on Friday 4/4 at 1:30 with a tour at 2:30. The following Friday, 4/11 is part of Cornell Days and is for admitted seniors only. (just double check the engineering school website as I did a real quick check)</p>

<p>you need to know that the engineering tour (or specific college tour) is way differernt than the general Cornell tour. Cornell had to be the most confusing school my kid applied to because they have seven separate schools and each handle admissions, tours, and info separate from the others. If you have any questions, just ask. There are a number of Cornell parents and alum on these boards!!</p>

<p>I'm an Upstater who go to Colgate. I regularly drive from Rochester to NYC at least maybe 3-5 times a year. </p>

<p>I have been to Cornell. I will tell you that Cornell is overwhelming huge campus- so I agree with other posters just to concentrate on the freshmen areas like North campus/quad. When you drive into Ithaca, that's NOT where Cornell kids hang out. You actually have to keep going, going, going until you get to the bottom of the hill. Then you drive up and that's where College Town/Cornell life begins.</p>

<p>Ithaca is also a nice campus- a bit more modernish (not for me) and it's south of Cornell by maybe 5-10 minutes. But it's pretty focus on pre-professional stuff so if that's not your S's thing, then forget it.</p>

<p>As for the choices on driving vs. flying... Well I can tell you that driving from Boston to Cornell will probably take at least 8ish hours across NYS. So definitely plan entire Thursday doing that. NYS is very pretty honestly (the only terrible part is the drive between Syracuse and Buffalo) and if your S is serious about Cornell, he might as well get used to it! Kids from CNY have to drive everywhere to get where they want to go- Syracuse, Colgate, Binghamton, NYC, etc. Once he gets used to the scenary, then he'll feel a little better knowing how "much farther" he has to go before reaching his destination.</p>

<p>And yes, I would pay attention to the dates for accepted students...The admissions office will be pretty distracted- I've seen it Colgate and I can't imagine for a BIGGER school like Cornell...</p>

<p>Cornell parent #3, from So Cal whose S is an engineer. If you are driving from Boston to Ithaca, will you be able to stop by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute near Albany NY? They have an excellent engineering program, love geographic diversity, and would be an excellent option for your S if as you say, Cornell is a reach. </p>

<p>In answer to your question, if you leave Ithaca Airport in the mid-afternoon, then you would need to leave the Cornell campus an hour or so earlier, which might not leave sufficient time to do the visit justice. When our S's visit, we arrived in Ithaca the night before (and stayed at the Statler - pricey but highly recommended), toured all the next day to around 4:30 (and were busy the entire time), and then headed to the airport for a 6 pm flight home. Our S was happy to make his decision just based on the campus, so we didn't go to Collegetown, the Commons or Pyramid Mall, all of which would've been nice to give him more information of what student life would be about. On the other hand, 2 nights in NYC is much better than 1 night. Either way, have fun!</p>

<p>Just another thought since you will be in NY, you should check out University of Rochester - strong engineering programs.</p>

<p>Spend the extra time in NYC.</p>

<p>Try to get a copy of the NY Times the Friday you go down there. There are 2 separate entertainment sections. One lists all of the clubs (by music genre) and who will be performing there. Check for minimum age...some clubs may require 21+. New York Magazine and Time Out New York also have weekly listings...but I like the Times better.</p>