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College visitation tour

July 22nd, 2013 at 04:42 pm

We just got back from a week visiting a few colleges for our daughter who is a rising high school senior. Someone asked about it in another post on an unrelated topic but I thought I'd talk about it here in case others are interested.

Our daughter is interested in studying mechanical engineering. Prior to this week, we had attended an engineering open house at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in November and a general open house at Univ. of Virginia in April. She fell in love with RIT and it went right to #1 on her list. She didn't care for U. of VA and that got crossed off. It's just as important to know where you don't want to go so we were good with that.

This past week had us checking out 2 new schools and a return visit to RIT. We started in Troy, NY at Rensselaer Polytech. Great school, nice campus, but we just didn't feel it was a good fit. Kind of stuffy. Next was Univ. of Rochester. I knew nothing about the school and I was really blown away. Beautiful campus, great program, staff and students we interacted with were all very down to earth, friendly, had great senses of humor, and were clearly passionate about the school. DD didn't go into that visit expecting much and came away really liking it so it is staying on the list for sure.

Finally, it was back to RIT. Thursday and Friday was for a Woman in Engineering program and the Friday and Saturday was a College and Careers program (which also included an overnight stay in the dorms). There were parts of the programs that she found somewhat boring but overall, the 3 days there just cemented her love of the school and desire to go there.

There are still other schools on her list: Rutgers, Rowan, Lehigh, and more, but I doubt any will displace RIT from the top spot. Now we just have to hope she gets accepted - and figure out how to pay for it.

10 Responses to “College visitation tour”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Definitely appreciate hearing the experience...we will be looking for our oldest daughter soon as she will be a junior this year. She is more likely to be art/graphic design and/or music major.

  2. snafu Says:

    Glad DD is finding this a positive experience. I suggest looking at winter temperatures and snow falls in this area before the final decision is made. Has DD had considerable experience away from home during teen years like summer camp and month long visits with relatives in far away cities? Some teens are surprised to find themselves quite homesick. They find it stressful to have to make 100% decisions for themselves every single day. I thought perhaps it was because it takes a couple of months to develop routines that work and are familiar. DS's girlfriend came home for Thanksgiving [Oct.] and her parents had a dickens of a time convincing her to return to the University she chose.

  3. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    We're facing the same decision for next year for our youngest. We're looking at engineering as well - either mechanical or electrical. What shocked me the most is the difference in tuition and the cost for residence and non residence in the later years. If your daughter is undecided consider taking a look at the basic costs. The other consideration is work years/co-op. My older son (University of Toronto,Engineering)had a one year work term rather than a 3 month co-op and it made a significant difference in his employability. He had three job offers. His colleagues with no co-op or work year didn't have offers. Good luck!

  4. marvholly Says:

    Good grief. Hard to believe I ae been here so long. You were planning DD's bat mitzvah shortly after I started reading.

  5. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    oy, disney you are looking at all private schools. yeesh.

  6. disneysteve Says:

    snafu - She's well aware of the typical Rochester weather. That's the first thing everyone tells her when she says she wants to go there. They are great at clearing snow on campus plus there is a tunnel system to help get around.

    As for being away from home, that will be a challenge no matter where she goes. It is a bit further than I'd like to see her go but she feels that if she's too close to home, she'll be too tempted to come home on weekends or expect us to come visit. She feels she needs that distance to force her to grow up. Time will tell if it works. It is still drivable for us to go up for a weekend occasionally. We could leave Friday after work, spend Saturday and half of Sunday with her and be back Sunday night.

    wowitsawonderfullife - One of the big draws of RIT is that they have an excellent co-op program integrated into the curriculum. So she would actually be there for 5 years including the co-op time (but you only pay tuition for 4 years and get paid during co-op).

    marvholly - I know exactly what you mean. She will be 18 in 2 months so that Bat Mitzvah planning was 5 years ago.

  7. disneysteve Says:

    pretty cheap jewelry - She will also be looking at/applying to Rutgers and Rowan, 2 NJ state schools, but those aren't high on her list. We did look at Univ. of VA but didn't like it. We may look at Univ. of MD but I'm not sure. We all feel she will do better at a smaller school, not a state school with 30,000 or more students. She would get lost in that kind of environment. Rutgers has 65,000 students so I doubt she will feel comfortable there. Rowan is a better size. The problem is it's only 20 minutes from home.

  8. Joe Says:

    Steve, thanks for sharing.

    University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) has an excellent reputation for Engineering and is much smaller than College Park.

  9. Snydley Says:

    Just wanted to chime in that I went to Grad School at the U of R and was so surprised by how much I loved living there. The winters are quite gray but it was a great place to be a student. Low cost of living, great restaurants/bars (Park Ave is fabulous) all with that small town feel. I met my DH there and we were trying to figure out a way to settle there to raise our DD but it didn't work out.

    I hope she gets accepted!


  10. disneysteve Says:

    Thanks Jen. We really liked U of R. Great campus. Really nice people. Only downside is the price - about 13K more than RIT.

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