Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pleasant Surprises

Today was our busiest day so far. We toured both Boston University and Dartmouth, travelled through three states, and were finally able to see the Brown campus for the first time, along with the Brown I group.

We drove to Boston to tour Boston University in about 45 minutes. Boston itself was surprisingly beautiful, especially with the river running through it. One of my favorite things about East Coast cities is the architecture. The beautiful old brick buildings add charm and make us aware of how historically significant each city is. Boston University had many old buildings, as well as many beautiful brownstone buildings where upperclassmen live. I found out from our tour guide, Anna Cervisi, that 80% of the 16,000 Boston University students live on campus, and all are guaranteed on-campus housing. This was nice to hear, because not many urban colleges have such a distinct campus with such a strong student presence.
On our tour we learned that BU is divided into nine colleges, but has very flexible academic policies in terms of the students’ ability to change majors and colleges. I was very excited to hear that they have a school of hospitality that was competitive with that of Cornell University, but with more internship opportunities because of its urban location. The hospitality industry has been an ongoing area of interest for me, and therefore Boston University is as well.
During our tour, we were able to view a sample dorm room, which gave us a good sense of what freshman living would be like on campus. I thought the lofted beds with desks underneath was an incredibly efficient way of making space in what might otherwise be considered a small room.

We then visited one of BU’s 23 libraries, which was connected to a small museum. In this museum, along with many other historical artifacts, was President Richard Nixon’s letter of resignation. We also visited the Student Union, which had community service and educational resource centers, and also some of the campus’ 6 dining halls.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with Boston University, especially its beautiful campus and academic opportunities. After our tour, we drove two hours to Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire. There we had lunch at the Canoe Club and were joined by John Beck, an admissions officer, and Clark, a rising junior at Dartmouth. They both gave impressive and humorous presentations during the lunch, and answered all of my questions regarding admissions, personal statements, and student life at Dartmouth.
I also learned some interesting information about Dartmouth. I learned about the “D-system”, and was shocked to hear that Dartmouth required that every student take off three quarters of leave, in which they were not allowed to do anything academic. Later on, however, Mariko informed me that was essentially the same thing as having three summer vacations, but just not necessarily in the summer. I then understood why Clark was on campus during his summer quarter after sophomore year, as is required by Dartmouth.

I also learned that 40% of the Dartmouth student body participated in Greek life. Although Clark made Dartmouth Greek life seem different than in other schools, this was still a turnoff to me. However, I was glad to hear that the Dartmouth students, although competitive with themselves, are not as competitive with each other as many other colleges. Clark told us horror stories of torn-out pages from textbooks, and I was glad to hear that Dartmouth’s academic environment was less competitive and more interactive and supportive.

Although I wasn’t as interested in Dartmouth, I still asked a ridiculous amount of questions and was able to find out some general information about colleges that would be useful to me in the future. Without the support of the Ivy League Connection, I probably would never be able to have such an intimate and informative experience where I was able to ask as many questions as I wanted and truly take advantage of the resources provided.
Finally, we saw Brown University for the first time, and had dinner at Johnny Rockets on Thayer Street with the Brown I group. Not only was it great to be able to talk to different students, but seeing them and all of the other students have such a great time made me unreasonably excited. At this point, I’m just counting down the days until we can move into our dorms and truly get a taste of college life.

1 comment:

  1. Caroline,

    You're getting quite a taste of college options even before you get a chance to see Brown. Different schools offer different options and all you have to do is find that 'perfect fit' of a school for you.

    Wouldn't you think that something as important as a letter of resignation from the Presidency would be in the Smithsonian? How on earth did it end up at a university?


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