I will comment on UPS. After seeing many LACs across the nation, UPS wins. A super friendly student body based on the overnight, beautiful campus and lots of different majors you typically don’t find at other LACs. Great reputation in the PNW area an with Seattle so close jobs are there for the grads. I spoke to a few alums who just gave such praise for the school. When we asked the students about Greek vs non-Greek the reply was that the school is small and you are friends with so many people. No one really cares like you might find at a big state school. In the end, UPS won us over and D will enroll.
My D is also considering UPS as one of the final schools in which she is interested. My husband and I attended college on the east coast then moved to the SW and were not really familiar with schools in the PAC NW. As soon as I started asking questions, parents and alumni starting speaking up loud and clear about all the positives of UPS. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how devoted UPS fans are! The campus is drop dead gorgeous and feels safe and comfortable. Seattle’s proximity for an occasional weekend trip is a definite plus for pro sports and music events. D visiting for final decision in April.
@Charlietrojan Congratulations to your son on his excellent choice and best of luck to him!
I am taking my daughter next weekend for an Admitted Students Day visit. We were there this past summer and she fell in love with the beauty of the area and the campus, however, I feel my daughter needs to see it in “action”. We are from the mid-west so she would probably only come home at Christmas and Spring Break due to cost issues. Could anyone give some insight on how deserted the campus might get at Thanksgiving or extended fall days off? Earlier she said it wouldn’t matter, but as final decision time is drawing near she’s starting to think about it. Also, wondering about socio-economic issues. It seems like there are quite a few students from affluent families there. While my daughter will have spending money there won’t be a lot for extravagances. Any comments on whether she might feel out of place?
In the past five years the school has done a lot to try to impact the diversity of the campus. One of their big initiatives is the TPS Commitment, which provides full need aid to 35 students from Tacoma schools each year. @InDebtForever if your daughter is feeling isolated, tell her to seek out the students who say they’re local - no trust funds!
@InDebtForever Hello! My daughter is seriously considering UPS as well. Do you mind letting us know how your daughter likes the school after her visit? If attending, my daughter will also be fairly far from home and diversity is a concern for us too.
My daughter still likes the school after her visit and it’s one of her “final four”. When we visited the weather was absolutely gorgeous so this helped with a positive impression. Everyone on campus was friendly and very helpful. My daughter spent the night in the dorms and got along well with the students she met. She did mention that it seemed like a lot of the kids came from money but they didn’t overly flaunt it. Most of the students she met were from California, Washington, Colorado, & Oregon with a few from Minnesota. The campus did not seem extremely busy for a weekend, but that might even be the normal for a week day. My daughter was really hoping to be in a class or meet up with one of the professors associated with the environmental science program but this didn’t happen. Instead she got to sit in on a different class. She said the professor involved her in some of the class discussion which she found interesting. She did get to talk to a biology professor at an event on Saturday and said he seemed nice.
The issue of diversity (or lack of) was brought up at one of the parent information meetings. Administration stated that they are working on trying to increase their diversity and be more inclusive. My daughter said that the students seemed to be accepting of one another, that being said, I noticed that several of the black students were sitting in groups by themselves at lunch and in the coffee shop. Not sure if that was by choice or because other students didn’t include them. We also attended a presentation by students involved with the diversity and social justice groups. Most of the students stated that they felt the college was moving in the right direction and overall students were accepting, however one student did share that she felt some of her needs/concerns could have been better addressed by staff and administration.
I think my daughter feels her personality/vibe meshes a little bit better with students from two other colleges (Reed and Oberlin) to which she’s been accepted. My daughter really likes the Tacoma area and the opportunities that might be available after graduation. So for now, Puget Sound stays on the short list.
Let me know if there’s any other information you’d like to know.
Kind of got a similar vibe in terms of diversity. It could be a bit isolating. Not because no one wants to include you, but more because it seemed a bit clique-ish. And if you’re on the outside for any reason, that could present a problem. It’s still on our very short list, but that is a significant concern.
@InDebtForever and @seabay Thank you both for your impressions. My D visits next week and UPS is trying hard to get her into a class and or a meeting with a professor in her area of interest. Diversity does matter I think to her mostly because she has grown up in a majority-minority state and attended an arts school so she’s kinda accustomed to that environment. She’s also an open minded “artsy” kid so we will just be looking to make sure she can find some of her “people” for that baseline familiarity.
The PNW is a major draw for her and she wanted a small LAC but neither Reed, Lewis and Clark or Whitman seemed a particularly good fit for her. She loves the idea of living in those adorable houses on the edge of campus after the first years in the dorms. She is also intrigued by the Kayak and Swing Dancing clubs. UPS is the only school where she seems to be interested in anything other than her potential major and I think that is healthy.
UPS is in the last two schools standing and both have offered excellent merit money so that they are equivalent in cost for us. (It would actually be an easier decision for her if the COA wasn’t essentially equal.) I’m just really looking forward to the day when she can comfortably say she has found her home for the next four years…
@seabay @InDebtForever @BerkeleyMom @Jen253 @Charlietrojan @eandesmom Hello all, Just a thank you for all your thoughts regarding UPS. My D has finally decided and she will be attending UPS in the fall. Not only did UPS offer generous merit money for her but we’ve heard only good things about the school from anyone who knows it. She also loved her accepted students day visit. We are very excited for her, and her father and I feel very confident about her choice especially thanks to all the extra info we’ve been able to receive here. Thanks again to all!
@rfm512 , Excellent news! I’m glad to hear that your daughter enjoyed her visit. It’s a great place.
Hello @rfm512 Congrats to your daughter on her final choice. My daughter is a junior interested in UPS and she sounds similar to your daughter - she is a visual artist at an artsy school who is also interested in writing and environmental science. Diversity is important to her as well. If you visited Lewis & Clark, Reed and Whitman can you tell me a bit more about what stood out to your daughter at UPS in particular that made it a better fit for her than these others? We have all 4 colleges on our list but we live on the East Coast and we have yet to visit any of these.
Hello @chemmchimney! I’m happy to share our impressions and decisions about applications. Just fyi, my D only applied to UPS in the PNW - all other schools she was interested in were in the NE. When we started the process, UPS wasn’t even near the top of her list. She was lucky and was accepted everywhere she applied but after visits, UPS was her favorite by far. The school and the admissions staff in their responsiveness and general demeanor was a joy to interact with and we have continued to be very impressed with the professionalism but also the friendliness of the school in general.
In terms of the schools other than UPS, my D was impressed with them all but ended up excluding them for reasons I would describe as just personal to her - not because the schools didn’t measure up to expectations. I would have been happy for her to attend any one of them. Whitman seemed like a very happy and inviting environment but it just felt so remote that our D excluded it from consideration. (We are from Santa Fe, NM, and our D has been eagerly awaiting her college years to be in a little more metropolitan area.) Lewis and Clark and Reed, both really beautiful places but my D didn’t seem to care for Portland all that much. Reed also seemed a little more intensely intellectual and she just didn’t feel like she really fit amongst the student body.
Alternatively, my D LOVED WA state and specifically the Puget Sound area. UPS also just seemed to have the right feel for her. The campus is drop dead gorgeous. Its small enough to be convenient but the facilities are also very impressive. We were also impressed by all the students and professors we were able to meet with. The students seem to have a healthy respect for balance between academics and quality of life whether that be outdoors activities, sports, etc. My D loved the feel of the dorms and all the possible living arrangements in the campus houses, theme houses, suite style living, etc. There were lots of dogs on campus which she loved! The food was the best of any campus we visited. Tacoma also feels like a manageable size city for a kid raised in a small town and Seattle is an easy day trip for museums, concerts, etc. Lastly, it did not hurt that every person I have talked to about UPS either here on CC or elsewhere has been uniformly positive about the school and there are some excellent resources here who have significant personal experience with the school.
My husband and I both attended college on the east coast in a highly competitive atmosphere. Though that education has served us well, when confronted with having to make a college choice, neither of my kids has chosen the east coast - maybe its because they are both artists and raised in our very “alternative” city. My son is a bit of an iconoclast and attended CalArts. My D specifically wanted a place where she could approach her studies seriously but also maintain a healthy balance between work and play and UPS really seems to fit that bill. Lastly, the PNW is an area that my D would ultimately like to live so she hopes that attending college in the area would facilitate internships, job opportunities, etc.
I hope that information is helpful. We feel quite lucky to have discovered UPS for ourselves and Im happy to share anything else I know. If your D chooses to apply to UPS be sure to pay close attention to early deadlines and requirements for the talent scholarships (there is one specifically for visual artists). Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have either here or PM me if you prefer.
@rfm512 Thank you for this - this is all super helpful! I had the exact same concerns about Reed being perhaps overly intellectual for my daughter and Whitman possibly being too remote. Will take a look at UPS scholarships too!
@chemmchimney, in addition to the named/themed scholarships, UPS offers merit aid to students without them needing to apply specifically for it. I believe the range this year was $13,000-$24,000/year. The scholarships are for all four years and the amount initially awarded stays the same.