If you have a college-bound student (of any age), you’re going to want to follow along as I begin the College Search series. Yes, the college visits have begun in my house. I’ve been working to gather as much information about the search and application process as possible and, right or wrong (hopefully right), I’m planning to share it with you along the way.
By no means am I an expert in the process. In fact, I’m a complete novice; but hope that collectively my wonderful readers will share their insight and experiences as well so we can learn from each other (and not have anxiety attacks along the way!).
April school vacation is one of the most popular times of year for high school students to visit college campuses. This past week was no exception. My daughter and I visited 12 colleges in just 6 days. A few were college tours, most were just drive-bys to get a feel for the type of campus she preferred (big, small, city, country, etc.).
Many of you have told me you did the same and have already provided some great feedback so please keep that coming my way so I can share it here. Either comment publicly at the bottom of these posts, comment publicly through the Facebook posts, or send me an email using the Contact form (which I’ll keep anonymous).
I’ll also share tips from parents about the college search and application process. These are like secrets that you don’t find out until after you’ve gone through the process when it’s too late. If you have a great tip, please send it to me to share. You’re going to want to sign up to receive these posts via email so you don’t miss one!
Disclaimer: I’ve received tons of quotes and personal opinions from my readers. I’ll put quotation marks around any info that comes directly from my readers. These are their personal observations and opinions and I’ve decided to keep anonymous. Every student is unique and looking for different things in a college (size, location, academic offerings, athletics, etc.) so don’t let a less-than-stellar review by one one person keep you from visiting a college in which your student may be interested.
Let’s get started…
COLLEGE TIP: 5 Helpful College Search Sites
Before you even think about getting in the car, begin your college search online. There are several websites that allow you to enter filters (school size, location, cost, etc.) and it will give you a list of colleges that fit those parameters.
I’ve heard from a few students that they like to search colleges at Colleges.Niche.com. “Niche has student reviews and stats (like test scores of admitted students).” There’s also CollegeConfidential.com. “Confidential is more of an open forum where students, parents, and others discuss various topics. I found them both helpful. Just be careful as you read anything with regards to opinions, like rankings. They are just opinions. What is a prince to some is a pauper to others.”
I’m finding that US News & World Report’s data on college statistics is concise and very helpful.
If you prefer a book you can write notes in, the Fiske Guide to Colleges (affiliate link) is excellent.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you the best place to view a virtual tour of any college.
COLLEGE ROAD TRIPS: Southern New Hampshire
SAINT ANSELM COLLEGE: A private, liberal arts school in Manchester, NH. About 2,000 students made up of of 53% women and 47% men. 68% of the classes have fewer than 20 students; 29% have 20-49 (source: US News & World Report).
This was one of the schools we visited ourselves. We didn’t do a college tour, we just drove through the campus while we were in the area. Here are my own observations…
A beautiful school set up on a hill in a quiet New Hampshire neighborhood, surrounded by pine trees. Red brick buildings, including the dorms. Black lampposts light and decorate the walkways. Sports fields are very close to many of the dorms, so are very much a part of the campus. The sports fields and hockey rink are all really nice and very well maintained. They compete in Division II, so I can imagine that sports are a very big part of the social campus life. There was lots of activity happening at the sports fields. There are two beautiful quads – one on the upper hill by the classroom buildings and one on the lower part of the hill by dorms and the sports fields. Downtown Manchester (a small to mid-sized city) is just a 5-minute drive away, but you don’t feel like this school is near a city because the school is set off on its own in a quiet neighborhood. Loved this school.
A few more comments from readers:
- “The college tour was fantastic and really got my son interested in the school.”
- “We liked that the dorms were in smaller, three-story brick buildings and not large, high-rises.”
Following are a few photos I snapped from my car. It’s really so much prettier than my photos show…
FRANKLIN PIERCE COLLEGE: A private, liberal arts school in Rindge, NH. About 1,700 students made up of of 56% women and 44% men. 62% of the classes have fewer than 20 students; 37% have 20-49. (source: US News & World Report).
This was one of the schools we toured. Set on a hill and overlooking a lake in a very quiet, secluded area of southern New Hampshire. There aren’t any larger cities nearby, but there is adequate shopping (grocery, department stores) for essentials at smaller plazas along the way (but not really within walking distance). The hilltop campus has beautiful views of the mountains.
Classroom buildings and classroom sizes were both very small. The library was very nice and seemed to have adequate study areas. The dorm room we saw was a basic, small cinder-block room that fit two twin beds, two desks, and I think two closets There is apartment housing available but our tour didn’t show them. The main cafeteria, which was located on the bottom floor of one of the buildings, offered several food stations, including vegetarian and gluten-free options (as I’ve found most offer now).
Our student tour guide seemed very happy and loved this school. She said it gets very cold and windy in the winter because they’re set up on the hill. A member of the boys varsity basketball team also gave us quick tour of the gym and raved about the school spirit during games. They had an event taking place in the gym when we toured so they had the stands pushed back, the floor completely covered with paper, and the lights half off, so I wasn’t able to get a true feel for it; but he said it had a beautiful wood floor. The baseball field looked like a turf field. There is also a really nice sports center under a huge white dome that housed an indoor field, track, and basketball court. Overall a very nice school with beautiful views.
A few more comments from readers:
- “A beautiful school set up on hill overlooking a lake.”
- “Campus has a beautiful lake, but I was not impressed with the buildings.”
- “My student liked that it was small but still had competitive Division II sports.”
Following are a few photos I snapped on our walking tour; but again, it really is much prettier than my photos show…
SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE UNIVERSITY: A private school in Manchester, NH. About 3,900 students made up of of 49% women and 51% men. 62% of the classes have fewer than 20 students; 38% have 20-49. (source: US News & World Report).
A few comments from readers:
- “The school has grown a lot over the past two years. Several new buildings.”
- “The sports complex has two pretty nice gyms where they compete in Division II sports.”
- “Close proximity to downtown Manchester, NH.”
I’d love to hear about the schools you visited. please READ HERE to see how you can participate. I’ll continue the College Visit Road Trips series tomorrow so be sure you’ve entered your email in the right sidebar to get the posts delivered to your inbox!
Thank you & Enjoy!