Thursday, August 9, 2007

East Coast College Tour Trip Report

And we're back. Jet lagged and sore of foot, the OC Domer family has returned home safely after a busy week of playing tourist and looking at some colleges in the East that might be a good fit for the OC Daughter when she wraps up high school. The best way to organize this is just to "take it one day at a time." (That's an all-purpose cliche if there ever was one!) (All pictures in this post are clickable for much larger versions.)

Day1. Travel Day. Flew from LAX to JFK in NYC, landing after 12:30 a.m. Taxi into downtown Manhattan and checked into the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square for the bargain basement rate of $299 per night. Ouch. The only noteworthy thing about the travel day was that it went off glitch-free. Hotel actually was a good deal, relatively speaking, being so close to Times Square. Decent room, free wireless Internet, good air conditioning, comfortable beds.

Day 2. NYC. The family slept in a little, having arrived so late. Started the day with a long touristy walk. Down 42nd Street through Times Square to Fifth Avenue. Saw the New York Public Library, which had on display one of Thomas Jefferson's first handwritten drafts of the Declaration of Independence. Very cool. Checked out St. Patrick's Cathedral. Walked up Fifth to Rockefeller Center, had lunch there, checked out the NBC Studio store. My son loved the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company products and the Seinfeld stuff. After lunch continued up Fifth to FAO Schwarz toy store and then Central Park. Wandered through Central Park for a while, then took the subway to Columbia University.

We spent just a little time a Columbia. None of us (including our daughter) really cared for the urban campus as a place to go to school. But it was neat to see it. Then we found Tom's Restaurant so we could get a picture of the kids under the sign from the Seinfeld TV show. Hopped the subway back to our hotel, and cleaned up for the 7:00 p.m. performance of Wicked at the Gershwin Theater. Did I mention that it is just the slightest bit warm and humid in New York City in late July? Hot and sweaty we were. But we cleaned up nicely and headed out for the show, never thinking we ought to bring jackets. Wicked was a lot of fun. Clever story, well presented. Even our 13 year old son admitted that it was better than he thought it would be. But the air conditioning was brutal! All of us, but especially the OC Wife and the OC Daughter, were freezing throughout the entire show. After the show we ended up at the TGI Friday's on Times Square for a late dinner, then back to the hotel.

Day 3. More NYC. My son and I had to be up early because we were going to visit the Statue of Liberty and in the morning while my wife and daughter were going to do some shopping in SoHoTribeca.

It is with great sadness that I report that security forces in New York City have kidnapped the Statute of Liberty and are holding her hostage. The kidnappers' demands are unclear at this time, but no one is permitted to visit the hostage without first being subjected to a physically and emotionally intense security screening process, the main purposes of which seem to be (a) discouraging the citizenry from even trying to make contact with Lady Liberty, and (b) deterring those who persist from ever returning to Liberty Island once the ordeal is over. You think I jest? I had planned ahead and bought tickets on the first ferry boat in the morning to Liberty island, hoping to get in and out before the crowds and the lines became unbearable. This boat was scheduled to depart the dock at 8:45 a.m. Ticket holders were advised to arrive two hours before their scheduled departures, but only needed to arrive 45 minutes early if they were on the 8:45 boat.

My son and I got up early and hopped the subway train down to Battery Park. We arrived at about 7:40, where we took our place in the first line of the day, outside Castle Clinton waiting for the doors to open. The doors opened shortly after 8:00, and we proceeded to the will call window where we waited in line for just a few minutes to pick up our pre-purchased tickets. Then the fun began. We took our tickets and proceeded to the security screening line that we had to pass through before being allowed onto the boat. We waited in that line until at least 8:45 a.m. when they finally opened the doors to BEGIN screening passengers for the 8:45 boat. We worked our way through that line (removing belts, wallets, etc., but thankfully not shoes) and passed through the scanning machine at which time were were permitted to get onto the boat. We successfully boarded the first boat, which left the dock no earlier than 9:15, and zipped over to Liberty Island. Once at the Island, we quickly left the boat and headed straight for the tours of the museum and the base of the monument itself, which we were entitled to visit by virtue of holding one of the limited passes available only by advance booking. Those without the special passes had to be content enjoying the views of Miss Liberty while walking around the perimeter of the island, since they would not be permitted to the inner sanctum.

But hold on cowboy, where do you think you're going? Nobody goes on a tour without first going through security. Before being admitted to the statue and museum, we had to stand in another line awaiting yet another security screening. But, for some inexplicable reason, the security screening hadn't started yet. So we waited. And we waited. Finally, about 20 minutes later, after being told to get rid of our water bottles and our backpacks (lockers are available for a nominal fee!), we were admitted into the security screening tent (shade!), where we waited again for our turn to be admitted into the special room where the magical security machines are kept. After passing through these machines and putting our belts back on and all our stuff back into our pockets, we were permitted to actually walk into the base of the statute and join a tour, which would begin in ten minutes (at 10:00 a.m.). The tour consisted of a very short ranger talk and an escort into the museum. You wander through the museum, which leads to a stairwell taking you up 156 steps to the observation deck at the top of the statue's pedestal (not into the actual statue itself). Once you've observed all you want from the observation deck, you can head back down to the museum and/or visit the rest of the island. Wait! Did I say you could head back down to the museum? My mistake. What they don't tell you when you enter the museum is that it's a one-way ride. Once you head up the stairs to the observation deck, there is no returning to the museum - you instead have to exit the monument whether you want to or not. Had the kidnappers mentioned that little detail, we would have spent more time in the museum on the first pass rather than race up the stairs to see the view.

Hot and exhausted from our ordeal, my son and I limped back to the dock, where we waited in line for the first boat back to civilization. Depending on how you count, we had to stand on our feet in the hot sun in five different lines and endure two different airport-level security screenings over the course of course of approximately two hours before being admitted to the Statute of Liberty. And we had advance reservations on the FIRST boat of the day. Although we persisted in our dogged determination to visit the hostage personally, I must admit that we will think long and hard before ever undertaking such a foolish adventure again.

Free Lady Liberty! Loose her chains! Give her back to the People!

Once back in Manhattan, my son and I walked over the the World Trade Center to see the site, and then went to see Wall Street and the NYSE. I took his picture next to the big bull. We then hopped the subway to meet the wife and daughter for lunch. Flipping through one of our handy-dandy guide books, we decided that Katz's Deli would be perfect - supposedly the oldest deli in NYC. It was quite a hike down Houston Street, but when we got there it looked great. Lots of character and charm, an authentic New York experience for the kids. I ordered the roast beef sandwich. What they brought me appeared to be the still-beating heart of a recently slaughtered calf, on a bun, with blood dripping out of it and pooling all over my plate. Eventually I got the waiter's attention and explained that the "roast" beef was a little rare for my taste. He happily swapped it out for some hot dogs at no charge. Once lunch was over we all decided that our feet had seen enough sidewalk for one day, so we cabbed it back to the hotel to rest up for a bit and get ready for the Yankees game.

Hot and sweaty is one thing. But hot, sweaty, and trapped below ground aboard the #4 train heading for Yankee Stadium is another thing entirely. It was a mob scene boarding the train at Grand Central and it's really surprising nobody got hurt. Or more accurately, that more people weren't hurt. The train could charitably be described as "standing room only" once we jammed ourselves onto it. I don't know what you would call it after more people miraculously squeezed their way on at each successive stop. It was tight, and hot, and tense. My wife was especially miserable since she tends toward a little claustrophobia anyway. Finally we arrived at the stadium. The crowd was excited because A-Rod was sitting on 499 homers and everyone was hoping to see #500. I sent the wife and kids to the seats, while I went for drinks and snacks. I was about fifth in line at the concession stand, and only had to wait two innings to get my bottles of water, Diet Cokes, peanuts and Cracker Jack. Two freakin' innings. Slowest concession workers on the planet. I was sure A-Rod would hit #500 while I waited in line as the lady puzzled through the difficult task of retrieving a hot dog for the guy in front of me.

Yankee Stadium is impressive because it is big, and because I know some of it's history. But as a place to go see a ballgame it has little to recommend it. It's old and outdated. "Dump" may be too harsh, but not by much. We were sitting just above and beyond the top of the left field foul pole. It was hot and sticky, and the insects swarming around the stadium lights above our heads would occasionally buzz us. We had no problems with any of the fans, but then I wasn't wearing my Angels' cap either. For all the tradition and class that is the Yankees' legacy, I chuckled at the fact that they have all the same cheesy entertainment and promotions at Yankee Stadium as anywhere else. The animated "freeway car race" of Anaheim Stadium is replaced by a "subway train race", but the rest is the same. I was hoping to see monument park, but that closes down two hours before the game. I wanted to see the old Yankee Stadium before they tore it down. Mission accomplished, we stayed through four A-Rod at-bats, then left in the seventh inning to avoid a repeat of the subway scene we faced on the way to the game.

Day 4. Princeton and Lehigh. We left NYC early in the morning, taking a NJ Transit commuter train (cheap!) from Penn Station to the Metropark station in Iselin, New Jersey. We picked up a rental car and drove down to Princeton to catch the 9:45 campus tour. We were visiting Princeton mostly because I had heard so many glowing things about it that I just had to see it, even though it is just about the toughest school in the country to get into. The campus is just gorgeous! It reminds me very much of a certain University in Northwestern Indiana. In fact, the resemblance is so striking that I couldn't help but wonder if Princeton's campus didn't serve as some of the inspiration for the designers and architects of Notre Dame's campus. The small town adjacent to campus is also very quaint. The whole package was very impressive. If Princeton had a better football team it would be perfect. The tour itself was pretty standard fare. I had to laugh because our student guide used the word "amazing" about a thousand times during our hour together. She needs to buy some more adjectives. Princeton's commitment to undergraduate teaching and education is impressive. Certainly if you have student who can get into Princeton you'd have to think long and hard before deciding not to enroll there.

After lunch at a pizza joint across from campus, we hopped into our rented Dodge Charger (big trunk) and drove to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where we planned to attend a 2:30 information session followed by a campus tour. I don't know exactly what we expected from Lehigh, but our expectations were exceeded. Bethlehem is regarded as a great small city to live in. The University sits on a hillside just above the city. The campus is green and lush with lots of grass and mature trees. The architecture is similar to Notre Dame's in style and color. Of the schools we visited, Lehigh's information session was by far the best. From it we got a real sense of Lehigh's philosophy of undergraduate education, the programs it offers, and why they consider themselves to be an excellent blend of University resources with a small college feel. The campus tour was pretty normal, except that we got to see a dormitory and the main dining hall on campus. Boring? I think not. I was very surprised that most of the tours we took did not include a look at a typical dorm and dining hall. As a parent (or prospective student) I care much more about where my child is going to live and have dinner than I do about the new physics lab. Yet all the tours typically include (a) historic campus buildings (administration building and possibly a church), (b) library, (c) classroom, (d) student center, and (e) fancy new departmental building endowed by generous alumni. All in all, I think we came away feeling like Lehigh would be a very nice place to go to school if "Plan A" doesn't work out. While it wasn't #1 on the list of any of our family members, I think several of us had it as #2. After finishing up at Lehigh, we drove to Lewisburg, PA where we spent the night in anticipation of seeing Bucknell University in the morning.

Day 5. Bucknell and Cornell. It was a very short drive from the Country Cupboard Inn to the campus of Bucknell University, where we had made a reservation to attend the 9:00 information session (followed by campus tour). Interesting that Bucknell was the only school that required a reservation for the info session. When I called to make the reservation, they asked for my daughter's name and other information. Then they mailed us a reserved parking pass and mailed my daughter a nice letter and some Bucknell pamphlets. They also asked her to send back an information card so they could keep in touch with her. Since my daughter is just a junior in high school and only beginning the college search process, she was impressed by the personal attention. The information session was okay. More anecdotal, less organized than Lehigh's, but most of the information came through anyway. Bucknell's campus is beautiful. It is all red brick and white trim and seems to me that it ought to be in Virginia or Georgia. The tour of Bucknell, like Lehigh's, included a dorm and dining hall. Overall impression was that Lehigh and Bucknell are very similar. They differ in architectural style. Bucknell's facilities seemed to be a bit newer than Lehigh's. The dorms there have air conditioning, while Lehigh's don't. Bucknell is definitely smaller (and feels smaller) than Lehigh. Lewisburg also feels a little farther off the beaten track than Bethlehem. Although Bucknell felt a bit too small for my wife and I, it was the favorite school of our son (age 13), who asked questions on the tour and happily bought a Bucknell lacrosse t-shirt at the bookstore. We bought some sandwiches in the cafeteria and headed North for Ithaca, where we hoped to catch the 3:00 tour at Cornell University.

The drive to Ithaca was beautiful, and we were treated to some dramatic electrical storms off in the distance as we approached the town. Of course, once we arrived in the town we found ourselves in the middle of those thunderstorms. Added to the storms was the fact that Ithaca is a horrible town to drive in. Lots of curvy streets without any road signs to navigate by. So we got a little lost before finally finding Cornell. The huge parking garage that we had to park in was our first clue that Cornell is much bigger than the other schools we had visited. As with finding the campus, navigating from the garage to the tour site in the rain was also a challenge and we arrived there pretty well soaked, barely on time, and out of breath. Quite a start. I think both my wife and I felt that it was not a good start and could only portend an equally disappointing tour. But the rain stopped just as our tour group stepped outside, and our daughter loved Cornell. It was her favorite school of the trip. The campus is beautiful, perched high on a hill overlooking Cayuga Lake. Traditional Ivy-league architecture. I think my wife and I both felt that Cornell is too big for us, but our daughter loved it and at the end of the day what we want for her is that she go to an excellent school that she loves. If she can get into an Ivy-league school and wants to go there, it would be hard for us to object.

After the tour, we had dinner at a student hangout near campus, then drove to our hotel in Ithaca (which took too long to find) and actually did laundry that night. The heat and humidity of the East had us going through clothing much more rapidly than we do while at home.

Day 6. To Boston. This was a long day on the road. Drove from Ithaca back to Iselin, New Jersey to return the rental car and hopped the Amtrak train to Boston. It was a four hour drive followed by a five hour train ride, but the five hour train ride was much better than a five hour flight. Train time seems to pass more quickly than plane time. More room to move around, more to see out the windows. Actually very relaxing, although the ride is just bumpy enough that you can't really work on the computer very well. Arrived in Boston's South Station at 7:30 p.m., and checked into the Doubletree Hotel on Washington Street, just a few blocks from Boston Common. Took an evening stroll down Washington Street to Faneuil Hall, where we had a late dinner at Durgin-Park. My wife had never been to Boston and absolutely fell in love with it.

Day 7. Freedom Trail. This was our sightseeing day in Beantown, and the Freedom Trail was the main attraction. We started at Boston Common and walked the entire thing, including a stop at Faneuil Hall for lunch and just a little shopping. The Trail ends at the Bunker Hill Monument, where we climbed 294 steps (whew!) all the way to the top for some great views of the city. Once again hot, sweaty and tired we took a cab back to the hotel and ordered some pizza.

You can't help but compare Boston to New York. NYC is superlative in every way. Bigger, glitzier, grittier, faster, more expensive. It's an exciting city to visit and there is so much to see and do. But it wears on you. Boston comes at a much more manageable scale and pace. It wears better. Boston felt more comfortable to us, easier to really enjoy. It feels a lot like San Francisco, minus most of the weirdos. It is also very interesting to note the differences in visiting the historical sites. I wrote at length, above, about how difficult it is to see the Statute of Liberty. On the Freedom Trail we walked right into the Old State House, the Old South Meeting House, the Old North Church, and the Bunker Hill Monument with almost no wait at any of them, and no security screenings either. It made for a much more enjoyable day.

Day 8. Plymouth and the Vineyard. On this day we rented a car and drove down to Plymouth to see the Mayflower II, Plymouth Rock, and the Plimoth Plantation. Plymouth itself was a very pleasant surprise. It was a very "cute" seaside village with gorgeous homes and a very attractive downtown. Of the attractions, we all liked the Mayflower the best. It was very fun to see an authentic re-creation of such an old (and sturdy) ship. There were costumed characters on board who told about life on the journey and in New England at the time. Very fun. The Rock was pretty much just a rock, but it was still neat to see it. Plimoth Plantation was a bit underwhelming. We didn't spend very long there. Good to see it, but I think we expected to see more activity in the English village, and in reality it was almost deserted. And hot.

We then drove down to Woods Hole on Cape Cod to catch the Steamship Authority ferry over to Martha's Vineyard. We got all the way down to Woods Hole to where the ferry departs, only to find that Woods Hole is very, very small and there is absolutely no parking available there. This was a problem because we planned to walk onto the ferry rather than take our car over. Eventually I was told I needed to drive four miles back the way I had come to the Steamship Authority parking lot. Once I got there, I was told the lot was full and was directed to yet another lot over 2 miles farther back up the road. Before it was all said and done I had to park nearly seven miles from the ferry launch itself. It would have been nice if the glossy ferry brochures had mentioned that little factoid. Fortunately, there were plenty of shuttle buses available and we made it onto the next ferry without incident.

The ferry ride over was windy, and the sky was becoming overcast. We had all brought our swimsuits in the hopes of taking a dip in the Atlantic Ocean, but it was beginning to look like the weather might not cooperate. The ferry dropped us in Oak Bluffs. We strolled around there for a bit, and had a nice lunch. Then we took the VTA bus to Vineyard Haven to see what it looked like. Moments after getting off the bus, the sky opened up and we were hit with a serious thunderstorm. We took shelter on the porch of the ferry building and enjoyed the thunder, lightning, and heavy rain - hoping it would blow over soon. After about twenty minutes there was no sign it was going to let up, so we took the bus back to Oak Bluffs and caught the next ferry back to Woods Hole. All in all, we weren't real impressed with Martha's Vineyard. Some quaint houses to take pictures of and a nice nautical feel. But we were there on a Monday afternoon and it was still crowded with too many tourists, and Oak Bluffs had a tacky tourist-trap feel to it. I'm sure it's a terrific place to relax if you're staying at a nice home on one of the secluded beaches, or in one of the nice resorts. But until I get that invitation I don't see any reason to go back. We drove back to Boston, stopping in Plymouth for dinner along the way.

Day 9. BC and Fenway. This was the last day of our trip. The big item on the agenda was to be the 10:30 "Eagle Eye" information session followed by the campus tour. We took the "T" from Boston Common out to the Boston College Campus. The "T" is nice, but it seems to stop every 50 feet, so it took a lot longer than expected to get out to BC. The line ends at BC and we hopped off and found our way onto campus and to the information session. Boston College was a little bit of a disappointment. I really expected it to have much more of a Notre Dame look and feel than it did. Parts of the campus are beautiful, but the campus has a disjointed feel. It doesn't all fit together nicely, and the architecture is more of a mixture than other schools we looked at. Most freshman live on a separate "campus" that is a mile-and-a-half shuttle ride away from the main campus. From the tour and info session, Boston College ends up feeling more "big school" than it needs to. Students have to apply for admission to specific colleges. Taking classes outside your major or transferring between colleges is a hassle. They kick juniors off campus for housing, then let them back on as seniors. It just felt more like a big state school than it's 9,000 undergrads seemed to warrant. Of course, no dorms or dining halls on the tour. We were really hoping that BC would knock our socks off. It's a Jesuit school of about the right size, located in a great city, with many of the elements we are looking for. But it ended up falling flat.

After visiting BC we had a few hours before we needed to go to the airport, so we took the "T" over toward Fenway Park and took a tour. The tour wasn't that great (no press box, no club house, no dugout, no trip to the field) but we still had a lot of fun. The highlight was visiting the top of the Green Monster. I had always wanted to see Fenway and I wasn't at all disappointed. Unlike Yankee Stadium, Fenway really does have some charm to it apart from it's history.

After the tour we took a taxi back to the hotel, grabbed our bags and headed for the airport. After a short delay, we were on our way home, pulling into our own driveway a little after midnight. Thankfully I had already called my boss and asked for an additional day off to recover from the trip, because I was beat!

Conclusion. What a great trip! We got to see and do so much. My son had never been to NYC. I was the only one who had ever been to Boston (very briefly). And we got to see some very good colleges. The whole purpose of the trip had been to (hopefully) open my daughter's mind to the possibility that there are great colleges out there for her besides Notre Dame, in case "Plan A" falls through. I believe we accomplished that. She very much liked most of the schools we saw, and was very favorably impressed by Cornell. Now, when we look at schools she will be able to do so with an open mind and hopefully find several that she would be very happy attending. Of course, we still have ahead of us the challenge of finding the best "Plan B" school for her. Princeton and Cornell, being even harder to get into than Notre Dame, don't really answer the call as "Plan B" choices. A surprise bonus was how interested our son was in the college visits. We thought he would be tortured by being dragged on all these tours, but he was very much into it, and we hope he will be motivated to really excel in school with the goal of getting into a great college himself.

I know this has been the longest post in the history of the OC Domer, and it is way off-topic. God bless you if you read the whole thing. But I had a lot of thoughts swirling in my head, and I had to do something with them. I now return you to your regularly scheduled season of Fighting Irish football ....


sir john said...

HAH! I read the whole thing. I felt like i went along on that tour.

Vairish84 said...

We are just starting that process as well. Since my wife is a Syracuse grad, that one is on our list. Between that and ND, and that all my cousins went to BC, BC is not really on the list. I had forgotten about those issues you described.

One of the schools we are looking at for Plan B is Wake Forest. Probably a little easier to get into than ND, but a lot smaller. Maybe too small. My son liked it though. It might be easier for OC Daughter given the California locale and their desire to get folks from the whole country every year. We were told that moving to Montana would help a lot.

She also might like William & Mary or U. Va. The U. Va. campus has some nice spots, but it is a little spread out. Not quite as disjointed as BC, but the architectural styles do change. Both schools have nice towns, more so Charlottesville. W&M is right next to the tourist trap of Williamsburgh, Va. It is, for us, the hardest of the Virginia state schools to get into since it is as good, or better than U. Va., and a lot smaller.

We are going to do a Carolina swing after his football season ends. We don't have to worry about Charlie calling for him.

The only thing we know for sure is that he does not want to go west of Chicago.

OC Domer said...

Vairish84 -

I've flagged Wake Forest as a possibility. In the same neck of the woods is Vanderbilt, which I think is similar but maybe a little bigger. My daughter really wants to visit U Va, and we'll probably wrap that into a D.C. - Virginia trip when she'll visit Georgetown as well. I need to read up on William & Mary again. I've been to Williamsburg and don't remember being that keen on it.

vairish84 said...

W&M is probably as good as any of the schools in the state IF you want what it offers. It is small so there is not a lot to choose from. I think the campus is nice, contained. It does suffer from being attached to the tourist site. My impression is that the twon/gown issues are not as bad there as in some other places.

Vandy is a good school. I visited it for law school, and really liked it. my recollection is that while the campus is somehwat contained, it is in Nashville so there is more of a city feel to it than Charlottesville or Wake, where the city is a little bit off campus, much like ND. We have a neighbor there currently so if you want OC Daughter to talk with her, I could arrange that. My secretary's daughter is at U. Va. now as well.

I went to Georgetown for law school. I looked at it for undergrad. The undergrad campus is small, and feels smaller all the time as they build more. The last time I walked around the campus, there was very little green space for casual gatherings. There are a few sports fields, and the student athletic center is nice.

Another school to consider in that same, highly priced private college string, is Emory. We lived in Atlanta so I have seen the campus. It is nice, a little newer than some of the others, but still good. You can't buy a Pepsi for 100 miles, but other than that it is fine.

When we go out to a game this year, we are also going to swing by Northwestern. The area around U. Chicago is coming back from what I understand so I suppose that could be possible as well.

justpassingthrough said...

Just stumbled on your blog - only read a couple of entries but this one caught my eye living in the east (NJ). My oldest is only 11 so we're a few years behind. My wife went to Bucknell and I've been there a bunch of times (we go to her renunions since its a lot easier to get to). I really like the school, and its a pretty tight community. I haven't been back to ND since I graduated, but am taking the family out for a game this fall, so I'll be interested to see how much has changed (which I know is a lot). Good luck

Anonymous said...

I also read your post, enjoyed it and felt like I was sharing part of the trip. Good writing!

It especially brought back memories because during my junior year my family also visited a number of the same schools(!) and then I visited Boston several times after starting my career.

Like some of the other commenters, I also might recommend some of the leading Virginia and North Carolina schools if you are interested in expanding the scope of your search. I liked them when I was younger and/or have heard good things about them since then. I'll add thoughts on a couple:

William & Mary has a very good reputation and I have been impressed with every graduate I've met from there. Pretty campus as well.

If you haven't already considered it, you may want to add Duke to the list. I believe it is certainly worthy of consideration. It has excellent academics. It's often considered like an Ivy League school, but located in the south. (But I don't personally consider it a "southern school" -- I'd guess that most students are from the North.) Like ND, it's a top flight school, draws students from around the nation, and I believe it's about the same size. Even the campus reminds me of ND.

Best of luck to you and your children!

College Bound said...

Thank you so much for your detailed informational trip. My daughter and I traveled to Chicago from California to look at three possible choices for college. She is also a junior and I feel at times we are behind in our search. We toured North Park University, Da Paul, and of course North Western. North Western is by far my daughters top choice of all colleges in the entire world. This is why I am writing you to thank you for giving us some great ideas for the east coast. We are planning a trip the first part of June and I was dumb founded as to how we start the process. You have given us so much information to go on I feel we can start the planning. If you or any one else has planned trips for college touring I would appriciate any help. We are headed to Oregan and Washington state in February but my daughter is wanting to experience a whole new world outside the west coast.

Robert said...

Great information!
Could you comment on why you didn't visit Tufts University? Looking to go there in June.

Would be very interested in your comments. We will visit BC as well.

Thanks in advance!

OC Domer said...

Robert - We just don't know much about Tufts. Good academic school by all accounts, but we must have decided from reading the various college guides that it wasn't a good fit for our daughter. In Boston, the only school we visited was BC. Had we more time, we might have seen Harvard as well. Tufts just wasn't in the mix - don't really recall why. But we are (still) looking for schools with a great (Notre Dame-like) undergraduate experience. Beautiful campus, most students living on campus, not too big, emphasis on teaching undergrads, school spirit, etc...

Good luck in your search!

WJ said...

We plan to have a college tour/vacation between 12/20/09 and 1/3/2010. I wonder if any of you out there can share some info/suggestions on:
1. If the weather is too cold to have good campus tours and city tours; 2. If most of the east coast schools are off and the campus will look not as pretty as they really are; 3. If there are some fun/touristy things to do in the winter in cities, such as NY, Boston, etc. Many thanks. A parent with 11th and 10th graders.