08 November 2014

Colleges in Review, Part 2

After visiting UMF and Plymouth, we went to hang out with my sister-in-law for a few days and visit a couple of colleges in Vermont. We had a bunch of fun with my 3 year old nephew but on the agenda was Green Mountain College and Johnson State College.

First up was Green Mountain College. It was in a really, really small town in a flat valley near New York. You could actually see NY from the campus, it was just past the farm and on the other side of the river. The town (Poultney) had three churches, a couple of cafe-type places, a grocery store and hardware store and not much else. It was about 20 minutes from Rutland which is a much larger town. You drive through this really small town, down Main Street, and the campus is in front of you on the edge of town. We went in and there was a welcome sign for Whitney. We took the tour and there were some pretty interesting things about the campus. For one, most of the buildings have classrooms on the main floor and dorm rooms on the second and third (if there's a third floor). The basements hold different things - in one building there's a bike shop where you can work on your bike or have someone help you with it, in another there's a dance/yoga studio.  The library was really nice and I liked their tutor system. There's a farm on the edge of campus where they grow food (produce, pigs, and chickens for eggs) that's used in the dining hall. The tour guide said that a lot of the food was locally sourced, which would be easy in that area. Whitney also spent some time talking with the guy in the Green MAP office, the outdoor club. They have skis to rent/borrow and lead all sorts of adventures hiking, skiing, etc. Sounds like it was really active and a great opportunity for Whitney to do stuff and get into leadership there. The down side to the college is the Vermont-y vibe we both were getting and Whitney didn't like that much.

When we were done the tour, she met with the director of admissions for about 10 minutes then I went up to talk with them. They had a good conversation, Whitney talked about her outdoor experience both with the family and working. When I went up we talked a bit about the school and also finances. Overall we left with a good impression but felt it wasn't the school for her.

The next day we went up to Johnson State College. We drove through lots of small towns to get there including Stowe, passed Ben & Jerry's but didn't stop. The college is again in a small town but this time there was no bigger town nearby. We did find an area outside of town/next town over that had a couple of fast food places, big grocery store, drug store, etc. Johnson is bigger than Poultney but to get to the college you go into town, turn right over the river then go up the hill and the college is pretty much the only thing up there. Again we did the tour and saw the campus. It's nice, a newer college; nothing seemed much older than the 1980s. Whitney went in thinking she wasn't going to like the school and ended up liking it enough to keep it on the list as #3. The built up part of the campus is small but they own a lot of land, enough that they have their own terrain park. Too bad Whitney isn't interested in riding the rails.

After we finished the tour, an assistant director of admissions happened to walk in behind us. We had a nice chat with her, got some more information about the college, and I asked some questions about Whitney applying as a homeschooler which really seemed like no big deal to them. Whitney had planned to wait to apply until after we got home to see if she liked the college enough to apply, which she's done.

So that was our grand tour of colleges, the Open House at UMF, a drive/walk through again at Plymouth, and tours at Green Mountain and Johnson State. Now the waiting game begins, all her applications are in, she took notes right after each visit, she's reranked the schools, and now we see where she gets in before the real angst starts and she has to make a decision.

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