Yesterday we took our incoming senior daughter on a small ‘College Road Trip’ and I wanted to share some observations. One of the colleges we visited was UC Merced.
Before the tour, our daughter was like warm at best regarding the prospects of going there. She’s a very good student, has very good grades and a decent SAT score, but schools like UC Davis and UC Berkeley are out of reach. She comes from a fairly small, Nor Cal High School, so she is probably best suited for a smaller campus environment; that’s why we suggested she give UC Merced a look.
Upon arriving at the campus. We were really amazed at how big it actually is. Now, it’s still small, comparatively speaking, but was nowhere near as small as we anticipated. The buildings were, of course, new, modern and thoughtfully laid out; this is the newest UC campus, after all. The campus seemed SO clean, too, which was not the same vibe we got at UC Santa Cruz.
The tour guide we had was amazing…energetic, knowledgeable, and down to earth. She shared so many neat things that she’s experienced at UC Merced that really got our daughter’s attention. Her favorite? ‘Stress Relief Day’ prior to finals; free massages, spa themed music, stress relief dogs, all set up in a common area. How cool is that?
The dorms were really spacious and well thought out layout wise. The campus also has safety poles every 50 or so yards, which can be used to immediately summon campus police if anything is awry. As a parent, this was encouraging to see.
The campus isn’t in a big city, or near much of a big city, but that has its advantages. The campus really had this ‘tight-knit’ feel to it that I don’t think you’d find in a big city campus. Everyone we passed on our tour was smiling, friendly, and outgoing.
The dining hall we visited was a little limited, but it’s summer, after all. There were options for most diets, and the food was better than most cafeteria style food.
All in all, it was really impressive…and probably sealed the deal on our daughter’s college choice. But, we’ve got a few more to visit…