Saturday, April 10, 2010


Back in the day, I arrived on my college campus without ever before having seen it. In fact, I am not sure I had ever even seen a college campus in person before I arrived! My daughter is amazed that I could take such a leap of faith.

When we planned this trip to see college campuses over Spring Break, it was meant to inspire her to continue to improve her grades and do what it takes to achieve acceptance to the college of her choice. I hope it did that .

The surprise hit was Humboldt State University. It could have had a lot to do with the charismatic tour guide, the fabulous sunny day, the congenial group of parents and students on the tour, the beautiful campus nestled into the redwood covered hills with the ocean views to the west. The facilities are a mix of old California mission and the newest green technology. Although Arcata is pretty much in the middle of no where on the Northern California coast, it is a beautiful setting and a safe little college town. The school is very health and environmentally focused and I would feel good about her being there.

We didn't think much of University of Oregon in Eugene. It is a much larger school at 23,00 students to Humboldt's 7,000. It felt impersonal and the campus is not especially attractive. Our tour was a bit perfunctory (outside of buildings for the most part) and focused a bit too much on putting down California schools and talking up the Greek system. I realize a lot of the slant you get on these schools can come from the particular tour guide you get!

The school Ally was the most excited to see was Southern Oregon University in Ashland Oregon. She has attended the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland for 3 years and loves the town. She had never seen the school but was aware of the strong reputation of the Theater Arts program.

We planned the trip around the all day program they had scheduled at SOU. They did a great job of "selling" the school. There were meetings with faculty and admissions staff, tours, an academic fair, an opportunity to sit in on classes, a financial aid workshop - plus they provided breakfast and lunch! Ally and I wandered around and I engaged a number of students in conversation (which I wish I had done in Humboldt). We really felt we learned a lot about the school and the culture there.

I know by the end of the 3 tours, her head was spinning. she just kept saying "how will I choose?" I told her this wasn't about rushing to make a choice - but getting a start on the long process of figuring out what she wants to study and what kind of environment felt right.
Tomorrow - some of the fun and silly stuff....


smalltownmom said...

We're already (8th grade) talking about colleges, because my son has a specific goal...with that in mind we also investigated a local private school for high school. Touring that school sold him on it. A good tour can do that!

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

I'm glad you had a good trip!