Archive for the ‘College Visits’ Category


College Visits – New York

New York can be an intimidating (though exciting) city. If your prospective student is interested in attending college in the Big Apple, it is highly recommended that you take a trip to New York City so he or she can get a feel of what it will be like to live in of the world’s most infamous cities—chances are that it’ll be quite an adjustment!

People gather outside the steps of Low Memorial Library at Columbia University. Photo: David Berkowitz

People gather outside the steps of Low Memorial Library at Columbia University. Photo: David Berkowitz

Day One: NYU, New School

Greenwich Village is one of the hippest parts of town for college students. New York University radiates out into the Village from the famous arch in Washington Square Park. On campus, be sure to check out NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, home to several world-class art exhibitions.

North of NYU is The New School, founded in 1919 by such luminaries as philosopher John Dewey and economist Thorstein Veblen as a place where ideas could be presented and discussed without fear of censorship. The university’s home, on West 12th Street, houses colleges of urban planning, music and drama, as well as Parsons—the design school of Project Runway fame.

Day Two: Columbia University, Fordham University

Morningside Heights

Take the 1 train up to Morningside Heights in Manhattan for a trip to Columbia University, a member of the Ivy League and, at 254 years old, the oldest institution of higher learning in New York City. Three colleges have their home under the Columbia umbrella: Columbia College, Teachers College and Barnard, a college for women. The main campus at West 116th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue is an academic oasis from the rest of the city dominated by the domed Low Memorial Library building. The wide steps in front of it serve as an “urban beach” where students hang out.

The Bronx

Up in Rose Hill, in the Bronx, there’s Fordham University. Getting there is no problem: both the D train subway line and the Metro-North commuter train stop there. It’s one of the more scenic areas in the city. Be sure to visit the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo.

The Pratt is a private college in New York City specializing in art. Photo: diluvi

The Pratt is a private college in New York City specializing in art. Photo: diluvi

Day Three: St. John’s, Art Schools

Your final day destinations depends on what type of student you have: traditional or one who plans to follow his or her creative soul.

St. John’s University in Queens is home to the city’s major college basketball team. Transportation is a bit tricky—if you don’t have a car, you’ll have to take a subway and transfer to a bus to get out to the Jamaica campus.

Art Colleges

Brooklyn is home to one of the top art schools in the city— Pratt Institute in Clinton Hill. Take the downtown A or C trains from the city to the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station and transfer to the G train.

Back in Manhattan, as noted above, Parson’s The New School for Design is part of the New School. From there, it’s a short jaunt up to East 23rd Street to take in the School of Visual Arts, one of the premiere art schools in the city. There are three galleries that showcase a mix of student and professional artists, located at 21st, 23rd and 26th streets.

As a final stop, head west to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), located in the midst of the Fashion District on Seventh Avenue between 27th and 29th streets. The Museum at FIT mounts critically acclaimed fashion-related exhibits. Admission is free.

Plan your New York City college visit on TravelMuse.

Post adapted from “New York City: College Visit Guide” by Laurie Bain Wilson and Donna M. Airoldi.

, , , , , , , , , ,


College Visits – Atlanta and New Orleans

Visiting prospective colleges is similar to peering into a looking glass. Through exploring the college, as well as the respective city, prospective students and their families can catch a glimpse into their daily routine, what classes might be like, who their peers could be and much more. As I mentioned in “College Visits – San Francisco and South Bay,” I wanted to go to school in L.A. And to this day, I am so happy I went to visit the campuses: the L.A. I had dreamed of was nothing like the actual city. It is also important to consider that as students get further into their college years, their lives tend to be less centered around campus and more grounded in the surrounding areas.

Georgia Tech. Photo: hectorir

Georgia Tech. Photo: hectorir

Atlanta is a hotbed of higher education. With more than 30 institutions of higher learning, the city is teeming with students, culture and history. With so many colleges available to explore, it is advised that you narrow down your list of schools to a number that is manageable for you and your family. However, this guide should get you through the major players and allow you to explore the city in about three days.

Start with Georgia State University, which is located in the heart of Atlanta and is close to Underground Atlanta, an entertainment district where you can grab a snack and sneak in some shopping before your next stop. Drive northeast 6.5 miles to Emory University, located in the suburbs of Druid Hills.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the Top 10 public universities in the country. Located in on 400 acres in Midtown, just north of downtown. Only six miles away from Georgia Tech is the historically black Morehouse College for men and the historically black Spelman College for women.

Oglethrope University
is located 10 miles north of downtown and is a great way to round out your Atlanta college visits. If you have some spare time, be sure to visit Centennial Park, which was created for the ’96 Olympics.

Plan a trip to Atlanta on TravelMuse.

Loyola New Orleans. Photo: AuthenticEccentric

Loyola New Orleans. Photo: AuthenticEccentric

New Orleans
Believe it or not, the Big Easy is not just a hive of debauchery, drinking and hurricanes. Although its reputation proceeds itself, New Orleans is a fascinating, cultured city with more than 10 institutions of higher learning. So parents fear not, and hop on the nearest streetcar to easily explore the city.

Uptown Schools:
Located on St. Charles Avenue, Tulane University is the largest and most well-known university in the city. Right next door, often overlooked in the shadow of Tulane, is Loyola University, a Jesuit university with fewer than 3,000 students. The only historically black Catholic college in the United States, Xavier University is located close to the Carrollton streetcar line. Be sure to explore the and Audubon Park and the Audubon Zoo.

Lakefront: For a larger campus feel, the University of New Orleans is the place to go. The campus is located on the beautiful shores on Lake Pontchartrain and in one of the city’s nicest residential areas. Dillard University is another one of the city’s historically black private colleges. Dillard is home to the Institute of Jazz Culture, which promotes jazz culture and education.

Plan a trip to New Orleans on TravelMuse.

Post adapted from “College Visit Guide: Atlanta” by Aaron Butzen and “College Visit Guide: New Orleans” by Ashleigh Nushawg.

, ,


College Visits – Northern California

Trying to pick the right college is difficult; believe me. I was dead set on attending school in Los Angeles . . . until I visited the colleges I was interested in applying to and realized that just because a university looks good on paper doesn’t mean that it’s the right fit. When I stepped onto the UC Santa Cruz campus, I knew immediately that it was the right school for me.

Spring and summer vacations are a perfect for checking out prospective colleges for your future applicant. Whether you’re planning on a quick weekend getaway or an extended (and well-deserved) vacation, there are many ways to integrate college visits into your travel itinerary. The San Francisco Bay Area and South Bay have a multitude of phenomenal institutions to consider—from small art schools to Stanford, one of the most well known universities in the world.

San Francisco State University. Photo: Orin Zebest

San Francisco State University. Photo: Orin Zebest

Day 1: Berkeley and San Francisco
Known as a hub for liberal politics in the 60s, UC Berkeley is one of the finest public universities in the United States. Spend the day strolling down Telegraph Avenue, shopping in the local record stores and dining at Chez Panisse, the culinary icon Alice Waters’ famed restaurant. Be sure not to tire yourself out though, because afterwards you can make your way down to San Francisco, where there is a college on what feels like every street.

If you begin your college-visit trek near Golden Gate Park, you can visit the University of San Francisco (near Haight and Ashbury streets) and the University of California, San Francisco (in the inner Sunset). From there, cruise on over to the outer Sunset where you will find San Francisco State University. If you have an art student in the family, be sure to head out to Russia Hill, where you will find the San Francisco Art Institute.

Day 2: Silicon Valley
Approximately 45 minutes south of San Francisco is Palo Alto, a major focal point of the 1990s high-tech boom. It is also home to the famous Stanford University, one of the leading research and educational institutions in the world.

As you move further south, deeper into the hear of Silicon Valley, you will find Santa Clara University, California’s oldest college. SCU was founded in 1851 on the sight of one of the original 21 California missions. Next on the list, San Jose State is home to more than 30,000 undergrads and grad students. Be sure to explore the city, which is full of culture—a trip to The Tech Museum of San Jose and dinner at Original Joe’s old-time steakhouse is a perfect way to cap off a day of exhausting college visits.

Porter College at UC Santa Cruz. Photo: Peter Alfred

Porter College at UC Santa Cruz. Photo: Peter Alfred

Day 3: Santa Cruz
Unless you’re really alert after your Silicon Valley college visits, I suggest leaving Santa Cruz until day three, because it’s an approximately 45-minute drive from San Jose and lies on “the other side of the hill”—over the windy Highway 17. After the nerve-racking drive, you will be welcomed into the cozy little beach town of Santa Cruz—home to surfers, the Boardwalk, banana slugs and, of course, UC Santa Cruz. The campus is vast and hilly, so be sure to bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes.

Post adapted from “College Visit Guide: San Francisco Bay Area” by TravelMuse Editorial and College Visit Guide: California’s South Bay” by Nicole Fancher.

Plan your Northern California college visit on TravelMuse.

, , , , , , , , , ,


College Visit Guide: Seattle

If you have prospective college students in your family, consider utilizing your next family vacation to check out universities. There are first-rate colleges and universities in virtually every corner of the United States, so you can work some college visits into your vacation itinerary or, even better, plan your vacation according to where you’re college applicant is interested in applying.

This post we’ll explore colleges in Seattle, but stay tuned in the coming weeks for insider looks at college towns across the United States:

Washington University. Photo: eyspahn

Washington University. Photo: eyspahn

There is a multitude of colleges and universities within the city radius: University of Washington, Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, Cornish College of the Arts, Gage Academy of Art, as well as a plethora of local community colleges.

Capitol Hill: the Art Student

For the aspiring student artist, explore the Capitol Hill area, which boasts Seattle University, the Gage Academy of Art and Cornish College of the Arts. Exploring the Hill on foot is demanding, since it’s quite hilly.

A short walk south of the Hill off Broadway Street, you’ll find Seattle University. The campus is a green enclave that climbs south towards First Hill and descends east towards 12th Street. Opposite SU, the Gage Academy of Art is on the north side of the Hill where Broadway crosses 10th Street. The historic Gage Academy building has one of the most spectacular views of the city—a spread including Lake Union, Queen Anne Hill, the downtown skyline and the Olympic Mountain range.

If your journeys north and south haven’t totally fatigued you, stroll down to Cornish College of the Arts. The Cornish campus is on the invisible border of lower west Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle. Perfectly located, Cornish is luckily just a leap from many artistic ventures. Music fans will delight in the Experience Music Project, just a 10-minute walk from campus. Another artistic wonder, the downtown branch of the Seattle Public Library, is a sculptural masterpiece that would be a shame to miss.

Dining in Capitol Hill/Downtown:

  • Coastal Kitchen—Northwestern food with a rotating menu that explores different Regions of the world. 429 15th Avenue East, tel. 206-322-1145.
  • Dahlia Lounge—Tom Douglas’ renowned restaurant serving comfort food with a Northwestern twist. 2001 Fourth Avenue, tel. 206-682-4142.

U-District: the Student Athlete

The University of Washington (UW), located in the Montlake and University area, offers something for everyone. The school hugs Lake Washington and peers out towards the North Cascade range. The Montlake Cut, the link between Lake Washington and Puget Sound (Portage Bay), is famous, while “The Ave.” is an infamous party zone. Student athletes and outdoor enthusiasts can take pleasure in the trails that reach over the Cut and converge at the Washington Park Arboretum.

Dining in the U-District:

  • Café Solstice—Fantastic coffee, pastries, sandwiches and a favorite place to study. 4116 University Way NE, tel. 206-675-0850.

Queen Anne Hill: Traditionalists

Seattle Pacific University
sits at the base of Queen Anne Hill. The campus is extraordinary with sprawling lawns and tree canopies. SPU offers several different degree choices and is definitely a place to check out both because of its academic credibility as well as its location. Spend the day at the river trail across the street from the school and then cool off in the shade of a large maple on campus.

Dining in Queen Anne Hill:

  • 5 Spot—All kinds of omelets to choose from for breakfast; salads, sandwiches, and burgers for lunch and dinner; great place to grab late-night food as well, since the Spot is open until midnight! 1502 Queen Anne Ave N 98109, tel. 206-285-SPOT.
  • Tup Tim Thai—A great place for tasty, mid-day Phad Thai! 118 W Mercer St 98119, tel. 206-281-8833.

Where to Stay

Seattle has several terrific hotels. Here are three that are family friendly:

Fairmont Olympic Hotel

411 University Street, tel. 206-621-1700.

Sheraton Seattle Hotel

1400 Sixth Avenue, tel. 206-621-9000.

Inn at the Market
86 Pine Street, tel. 206-443-3600.

Plan your Seattle vacation on TravelMuse.

Adapted from “College Visit Guide: Seattle” by Ray Rogers.

, , , , , , ,