Chicago and of course, Northwestern. Don't get me wrong, they're great places to visit but I think if you go only to big name colleges, you'll miss an important aspect of your college visits: variety.
If there is one thing that the US does well, it's the variety of their colleges and universities. They have tiny ones (enrollment: 26) to huge ones (enrollment: 60,000), technical institutes, art schools, performance schools, liberal arts colleges, co-op institutions, work colleges, and research universities. If you visit only the big or famous schools, you won't see the small Catholic college or that famous liberal arts institution. If you concentrate only on the Ivies, you'll miss out on the plethora of liberal arts colleges that outperform them when it comes to undergraduate education. Ideally, you want to get a flavor of different kinds of schools even if you have no intention of attending them. Well...ok, I guess if you have absolutely no intention of going into performance, you can skip Juilliard or if science, engineering or math fields aren't your cup of tea, forget Caltech. There are many diamonds in the rough out there and sometimes they get overpowered by their famous neighbors. I won't pretend to give you a list of all the places to go in each city but if in[caption id="attachment_1087" align="aligncenter" width="256"] You would be wrong to begin and end your college tour of the Bay Area at Stanford. Look at Menlo, Santa Clara, St. Mary's, etc.[/caption] SAN FRANCISCO Visit Stanford, UC Berkeley and Santa Clara but also: Menlo, St. Mary's and maybe San Jose and San Francisco State [caption id="attachment_1090" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Obama attended Oxy...so you should at least look at it.[/caption] LOS ANGELES Visit UCLA and USC but also: Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, Scripps, Pomona (The Claremont Colleges), Cal Poly Pomona, Occidental, Loyola Marymount, UC Irvine and if you're going further afield-- UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and maybe Cal Poly San Luis Obispo SEATTLE Visit University of Washington but also: Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, Gonzaga (in Spokane), Evergreen State (in Olympia), Washington State (in Pullman), Whitman (in Walla Walla) and Reed (in Portland, OR) CHICAGO Visit University of Chicago and Northwestern but also Beloit College (Beloit, WI), Knox College (Galesburg), DePaul, Marquette (Milwaukee, WI) and Hope College (Holland, MI) NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY Visit Columbia, New York University, and Princeton but also Fordham, Cooper Union, Rutgers, Vassar, and Marist. PHILADELPHIA Visit University of Pennsylvania but also Swarthmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr(women's college), and Villanova BOSTON Visit Harvard and MIT but also Boston College, Amherst, Hampshire, Wellesley (women's college), Holy Cross, Marlboro College (in Vermont), Bates, Bowdoin, Colby (all in Maine) [caption id="attachment_1088" align="aligncenter" width="300"] President Kennedy once called Boston College the Jesuit Ivy.[/caption] Wow! That's a lot of schools. I am not saying that you should visit all of them but you should try to mix in a few of them and maybe drop a big name or two. I mean....once you've seen a big UC, how many more do you have to see? Once you've seen one Ivy you've seen them all. So take advantage of your summer break and go visit a variety of colleges and since our Philippine summers run during the American spring semester, you'll be able to catch students and catch a class or two. Comments urgently solicited. (Personal anecdote: Tyler and I did our college trip in the summer of 2012. In the space of seven weeks, we visited 15 campuses in the US and Canada: U of British Columbia, Simon Fraser, U of Waterloo, U of Toronto, (McGill got canceled), NYU, Fordham, Columbia, Rutgers, Princeton, Harvey Mudd, Caltech, UC Irvine, Stanford, Santa Clara, and UC Berkeley. If you noticed we didn't take our own advice. :) )
John Sy, President and Senior Counselor
Universitas College Counseling
203A CM Recto Street
San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 (917) 833-3825
+63 (917) 833-3825