Day 5: Tuesday - Boston College and Boston University
Yay! More college tours! So much fun! Boston College was the first stop for us. A very nice looking campus, though with a lot of construction, it was our first Catholic college of the summer. Run by Jesuits with a strong commitment to service, it was very interesting to a different perspective to the collegiate experience. With a strong history program, lots of student theater opportunities, and that special Jesuit influence, it definitely looks a strong contender. One special note, BC has been the only school to admit to being a research school. Every other school has tried to avoid saying that. Honesty is good, though admittedly, the nest words out of the Admission Director said was "Of course, there is a strong focus on teaching and undergraduate research." Next stop was Boston University. (Yeah, BC and BU in the same day.) A much different atmosphere: large, very large, university in the city. I really enjoyed the combination of city life coupled with a close-knit campus. Again, good theater and history. Got to have a long chat with a Theater Design minor, which was quite insightful. It was really cool because BU is in Boston, and right in the city, but doesn't really feel like it's in the city like UPenn does. Large population, 16,000 undergrads, but I felt like I could find a community there. Things I learned: Don't be afraid to walk the extra mile (literally) to find out what you need to know. Also, take lots of pictures of random of people is loads of fun.
Day 6: Wednesday - UMass Amherst & Amherst College
Today was my first state school. Wow...that was an experience. First off, UMass Ahmerst reminds me a bit of Soviet city. It has these huge brick and concrete towers dotting campus, and the campus center is this very odd cement building. But more importantly, I don't want to go to a school where the average class size is larger than my high school classes. And with 26,000 thousand students and a student-to-faculty ratio of almost 20 to 1, the time I would realistically get with my professors would be significantly less than I want. Amherst College, on the extreme other side of the spectrum, is a tiny (1,800 students), elite liberal arts school. It has lots of money and has a strong commitment to the liberal arts with its Open Curriculum that lets you take whatever course you want. No strings attached. So, interesting contrasts between huge and tiny schools. Lessons attained: Don't be afraid to not like a school based your impression. Because UMass Amherst just ain't happening. Also, don't miss a chance to talk to others going through the process. Random people in the pool can provide good feedback.