Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Three States in One Day!

Today was definitely a record holder! I started off my day in Providence, spent my morning in Boston, Massachusetts, and spent my afternoon in Hanover, New Hampshire with my cohort! Phew!

Mariko and I awoke at six thirty this morning. Our blogging party was so much fun that Mariko and I didn't end up crawling into our beds until thirty minutes after midnight. When we woke up, we looked at each other, groaned, and then got up to freshen up, dress, and head down for breakfast.

We had breakfast with everyone in the hotel restaurant. I had bagels and cranberry juice as a quick breakfast because I knew we had to leave pretty quickly.

My dad, Ms. Williams, Cindy, Josie, and I crowded into the car to head to Boston. It was only about an hour and forty five minute drive. Boston's sights have always fascinated me, as it even has a smell that smells just of nature. The Charles River is beautiful, and several green trees. The difference between trees in Boston versus trees in the Bay Area are that the Boston trees are very green, and look very, very healthy. They do not look old and added a fresh scent to the air. I already knew that I was going to love it.

We pulled up at Boston University and waited for our tour guide to arrive. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that our tour guide, Anna, is from Irvine, California! She had been around to Bay Area a lot so she could sympasize with us about the weather. Anna Cervisi is a rising junior at BU and is majoring in Political Science and minoring in Education. She provided us with a lot of information and successfully managed to walk backwards!

 Interesting facts about Boston University:
  • There are about 16,000 undergraduates. 80 percent of students are from out of state, 10 percent are international students, and the other 10 percent are in-state students 
  • Freshmen are required to live on campus, and 80 percent of students live on campus all four years! The dorms are lofted, which means there is a top bunk bed, but underneath it is a desk. I found this very useful and interesting, seeing as though I've seen a lot of dorm rooms in the past where there are two normal beds and then desks off to the sides. There are also on campus apartments and suites 
  • BU has nine different schools/little colleges within them. The Hospitality/Hotel Management House actually competes with Cornell! According to Anna, BU has an advantage due to the fact that they offer more internships 
  • Anna informed us that the average class size is 27 people, and that the teacher-student ratio is 14:1 - I found this very interesting, seeing as though I am looking for a school with small sized classes. Anna even added that her smallest classes were her writing-focused classes, which had about eight students in them 
  • There are 250 programs of study. BU stresses academic flexibility, like getting a minor that doesn't have to do with your major. BU is a liberal arts university, but they have distributive requirements, so that's in between the core and open curriculum. Some of the distributive requirements that Anna mentioned were at least two writing classes, then math, and humanities, etc. BU offers the double major, and if a student is in that program and is majoring in two subjects that are not in the same houses (example: Journalism (Communications) and Biology (Sciences), then that student would get an adviser for both houses and there is a special officer for those in the double major program.
  • The acceptance rate for BU is around 40 percent (for the Class of 2015), although Anna did mention that the acceptance rate percentage was going to start slowly decreasing, seeing as though Boston University wants to be known as a more competitive school. A student would need about an average of a 3.6 high school GPA to get in. Anna stressed that what admission officers say really is true; they really do look at extracurriculars and essays. More emphasis is put on the student's GPA and SAT score, however. 
  • There are over 500 clubs at BU, including a Qudditch team! BU students are very involved and often hang out on the "BU beach", or actually the lawn. The BU beach has wireless internet connection, has a relaxing aura, and is actually called the "beach" due to the passing cars that make a sound like waves. There are good sororities, but no Greek row. 
  • BU has over 23 libraries, and over 2 million books. When we went inside the library, we saw a lot of personal displays with several different articles and documents. There was even former President Richard Nixon's resignation from office. I really liked the displays; Don was correct - words are nice, but words with pictures are better!
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. got his PhD in Theology from BU. A statue dedicated to him is near his office, where he did all his work. The statue is of a flock of 50 doves, representing the 50 states. 
  • We visited the George Student Union, otherwise known as GSU. It has lots of places to dine, such as Starbucks, Panda Express, and Jamba Juice (apparently the only Jamba Juice in New England!). Anna, who identified herself as a picky eater, praised the dining halls, saying that they have good food, they are very health conscious, and provide good meal plans. For the meal plan, a student eats a meal, and one meal is taken off the card. Dining points are also taken away, for example, if a student where to buy a Dr. Pepper and a salad, six dining points would be taken away. I thought that BU was very creative about their meal plans.
  • Last but certainly not least, 60 percent of BU students study abroad at least once. The Study Abroad program is the oldest and largest program at the school, and it is offered for all the houses. 
I got so much out of visiting BU. The girls and I decided that BU was definitely on our lists of colleges to apply to! I liked how BU is large, yet not overwhelming - it has a very cozy feel to it. I also liked the wide variety of majors/minors and the nice dorms. The social scene a seemed very relaxed and friendly. Anna was very enthusiastic about everything, and it was apparent how much she loved being at BU.

The next university that we visited was Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. We got to eat at the Canoe Club with John Beck, an admissions officer and Dartmouth alum (Class of 2009) and Clark, a rising junior at Dartmouth.

John gave us a lot of information about the admissions process and Dartmouth's school system:

  • Dartmouth is very big on diversity 
  • Teacher recommendations help a lot with the application. There are six essay prompts given, with the sixth being a topic of choice. 
  • John stressed that the personal statement is NOT your ticket into the school. "No experience in itself will make you a compelling student," he clearly stated. He gave us some tips on writing the statement, such as writing about how an experience affected you and how it made you grow. He said it is apparent when a student picks and prods at an essay. He stressed that while most students try to make their personal statements rather urban subjects, the more interesting ones are ones that are about rather mundane subjects. John reads about 1,200 files, so he definitely knows what he is talking about 
  • Dartmouth goes through the quarter system, mainly known as the "D-Plan" (more on this later!) 
After lunch, Clark invited us to take a private tour of Dartmouth! While John unfortunately could not join us, as he had to go back to work, we were all excited to be going on a tour with Clark, who provided good commentary while John was answering all our questions at lunch.

Interesting Facts that Clark provided us with:
  • Fraternities and sororities are very popular at Dartmouth. Most kids attend the school not just for the academics, but also for the sororities. About 20 people can live in a sorority at the same time. 
  • Dartmouth is a NCAA Division 1 school, and they have 25 varsity sports and 25 regular sports. 25 percent of students are on varsity teams. Dartmouth definitely likes to spread athletics, because students are required to take three physical education classes. Some examples of physical education classes are wilderness, yoga, and meditation 
  • There are 43 study abroad programs. 60 percent of students study abroad once and 30 percent do it twice. Students are able to study abroad 3 times. Clark was fortunate enough to spend the summer after his freshman year in Russia, and this fall, he will be spending his fall term in London! 
  • Dartmouth has Green Print stations, which means that students don't bring printers to the school (although everyone is required to have a laptop), so they hook up their laptops to the printers and print out their work. These stations are located all over the school. Dartmouth is environmentally aware, and gets an "A" rating every year for staying "green"
  • There is a fall, winter, spring, and summer term. Students are required to stay on campus the summer after their sophomore year. If you do classes the summer after your freshman and/or junior year, you can take a term off during the school year 
  • Dartmouth as eight distributive requirements, but no core curriculum. Freshmen are also required to take a first year seminar. 
  • The teacher-student ratio is 8:1, so it is lower than BU's. Classes are typically 12-18 students, and the biggest classes are the intro level classes, which range from 100 to 150 students. This is a vast difference to UC Berkeley, where the intro classes can range from 300 to 400 students. TA's can tutor students, and there is an academic center. Clark noted that there is so much support given at Dartmouth that is is believed to be "impossible" to fail. 
I really enjoyed Dartmouth. I thought the campus was absolutely gorgeous, and once again, I liked the small class size report and the study abroad program. I will admit that I was very iffy about the quarter system, as I felt that cramming a lot of work into 10 week terms was very intense. I also thought the admission advice given to us by John was very helpful as well. 

When we got back home, we took a quick break and then headed to Johnny Rocket's to meet up with Brown Cohort 1! Seeing them again was absolutely amazing. They all looked so happy and were very sad that their adventure would be ending soon. They gave us a lot of insight about their classes, dorming, and the people there. They all noted that they had made a lot of great new friends from all over the United States - and even the world! Since it was Josephine's seventeenth birthday, we had ice cream and cake for desert. After that, we walked Frank, Erinn and Erin, and Kathleen to their dorms. Then we walked back to the hotel and started working on our blogs.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to go to Bowdoin tomorrow due to an almost five hour drive! So instead, we will visit Wesleyan! I have never been there, but I've heard lots of great things about it and can't wait to get going!

1 comment:

  1. I like the loft-bed idea at BU - I was just thinking about that the other day since I'm getting ready to move in! The green print stations at Dartmouth are also a very smart idea. Thanks for sharing those interesting facts!


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