Throughout my time at Cornell, I have been thinking about what I am looking for in a college. Could I see myself attending Cornell? The answer right now is no. At first I couldn’t really pinpoint the reason but our recent tour of Colgate University has opened my eyes to the different aspects of college that I find appealing and others that I do not want to experience.
· Location: This is a very big factor for me. One reason I was drawn to the University of Rochester is the fact that it is a small college adjoined to a big city. When I attend college, I would want it to either be in the middle of a city or in a very close proximity to a city, such as Boston or New York.
· Size: This is from my personal experience at Cornell: I do not want to attend a big university. Cornell is huge and the fact that I have to walk 20 minutes to and from class everyday is not something I find appealing.
· Freshman Seminars: I have come across this recently and I think I am going to make this a requirement for the colleges I apply to. It is an introductory class for freshman, with many interesting subjects to chose from.
· Outside of Class: In college, I am looking forward to learning outside of the classroom, be it through extra-curricular activities, study abroad opportunities, or research opportunities.
· Curriculum: This is something I have been debating for a while. I have always been drawn to innovative schools with open curriculums, where they have no distribution requirements, nor any core curriculum. Schools such as Brown, and University of Rochester. However, I am beginning to see why it is beneficial to have a core curriculum, which may force me to take a class that I did not previously believe I would enjoy, and fall in love with it.
· Greek Life and Sports: These are two things I am not interested in participating in college and would definitely not consider a school that emphasized either one.
This morning, the Cornellians left Cornell at 7:45 a.m. heading to Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. The drive was a good two hours going AND coming back. Fortunately, we had our DJ Dyana playing Jacky’s iPod to keep us entertained. The scenery was beautiful complete with lush trees and scenic rivers and when we arrived at Colgate, we were greeted by a beautiful campus that rivaled that of Cornell. However, the farther we drove past the cornfields and cows; I began to realize that I would never be able to see myself as a student at a college this isolated from urban life.
The Colgate information session was interesting but tedious. The more college information sessions I visit, the more alike they all sound. However, I learned many interesting facts about Colgate:
· Colgate is a very small college with a total of 2900 undergrad students and 6-10 students in their graduate program!
· The students are very innovative and volunteer oriented; they have a program where Colgate accounting students do poor people’s taxes as community service. The families earn a total income of about $12,000 per household and with the students help, they receive $2,500-3,000 in tax returns.
· Colgate boasts the #3 Debate Team in the U.S.
· Their campus was visited by the Dali Lama in 2007 and Bill Clinton is scheduled to visit in the fall.
· Two-thirds of Colgate students study abroad.
· 20% of the students are varsity athletes, and 80% participate in intramural sports.
· Colgate has a “Colgate Bucket List” which includes jumping into Lake Taylor and risk being attacked by the territorial swans that live there.
After our Colgate tour, we were surprised with ice cream sandwiches as a treat from the Colgate admissions office. Overall, the campus is beautiful and it definitely has rigorous academics, but Colgate’s location did not appeal to me at all. Hamilton was a cute, antique town but the mere fact that while Colgate hosts 2,900 students, the village of Hamilton is made up of 2,500 residents is not something I am drawn towards.
Our two hour drive back was prolonged by numerous spontaneous stops to barn sales and flea markets but we made it back to the dorms by 4:45 p.m. After eating dinner, and relaxing for a bit, it was time for the Cornell Summer College Karaoke Night. It was a bit slow at first but things picked up when more people began arriving. Then, one of our own, Dyana So, made West Contra Costa proud by singing her version of Alicia Keys’ “Fallin”.
Tomorrow, our schedule is less hectic than today’s. We are planning to go canoeing in the afternoon, but prior to that I am going to meet with my hotel group. Our weekend assignment is to do something of service as a group which should be interesting.