Looking at colleges has been a very different experience this time around. Whitney wanted to go to a small college where there are good winters which meant New England or Colorado/Utah/Nevada. Sarah wants to stay in Virginia. At first she wanted to go to a college larger than Whitney's but still not too big and she wants to be in a smaller town/more rural area, not a city. We talked about quite a few Virginia schools and a few more that are out of state but still within about 4 hours. It's interesting the schools that made the cut since two are smaller than Whitney's and one is in a very urban area.
She applied early decision to Roanoke, Emory & Henry, Mary Washington, and Christopher Newport. So far she's been accepted to all of them but hasn't heard from CNU yet. I think the decision is coming down to Roanoke and E&H. We toured all the schools last fall and have been to CNU and Roanoke twice. More visits likely to Roanoke and E&H to come.
Roanoke - this was her favorite from our first step on campus. We were the only ones on the tour when we went and the campus is beautiful. We've made two visits, the first one in the fall to take a look and for an interview. We were impressed. Sarah applied for a Service Fellows position and we went back down for the interviews. They also had a parent session that morning and I really liked some of the programs they have there. They are very active in getting kids to the career center and focusing on what comes after college. They have a program to help with the transition to college. She hasn't heard back yet about it but hopefully will soon. Sarah was also encouraged to apply for the scholarship competition, which she did. Hopefully we'll hear about that soon and that will require another trip down in February. They have given Sarah quite a few scholarships so although the tuition is high it's looking doable. Hopefully she'll be invited to the scholarship competition, do well, and get more money.
University of Mary Washington - they were our second tour. We really liked the campus; it felt very "Virginia" to me, lots of brick buildings, trees, very pretty. I was impressed with some of the technology stuff they had. Sarah liked it but thinks it's too close to home and too urban although it seems very separate from Fredericksburg. She was not offered much financial aid but I guess that's the difference between a public school and a private one. I think they've fallen to third on the list.
Christopher Newport University - the third, and at the time I thought last tour. Bob was with us for this one since we were going to Williamsburg as well. Sarah liked the campus but I didn't (guess it's good I'm not the one that will be going there). It seemed like a bunch of big block buildings; although they were all brick, they all looked the same and have no uniqueness to them. We ran into a friend there, someone who had been in the youth group ages ago when Bob was leading it. She was so surprised to see us! There are some good things about the campus although it's very much in an urban area which Sarah didn't like. She's still waiting to hear from them although it should be in the next week or two since she applied early decision. I doubt that we'll get much financial aid, another state school.
Emory & Henry - this was a late, last minute add to the list. She scheduled the tour and I was pretty sure, especially since we'd already seen the other schools, that we were going to go since she had said she'd go but she was going to say nope, not for her. I was pleasantly surprised that it moved to the top of the list with Roanoke. We went for the tour and there were three other students. Another very pretty campus. The school feels big but it's a small school. Sarah had gotten an email from the admissions office and they said that since we were coming from so far they wanted to make the most of our time there and did she want to sit in on a class, meet with anyone while she was on campus. She said she'd like to meet with the golf coach so after the tour we did. This fall will be the first season of women's golf there (as well as at CNU and UMW) and the coach was very excited once he started talking to Sarah. He said he would love to have her on the team. After we talked with him we met with her admissions counselor and she did her "interview" which was more of a conversation (and interesting to watch). Sarah said that she loved the college but wished it had some a capella groups. That got her counselor all excited! He said that she should come there and get a group started. Fast forward to this weekend and she got an email inviting her to audition for a music scholarship. Um, she's had no musical training. I think she's going to apply/audition but we have some work to do. There's no harm in trying, right? She's gotten some nice financial aid from them which is good since it's a top contender. The one downside is the location. Yes, it's in Virginia but it's five hours down Interstate 81 so it's pretty far.
We'll have to see how things shake out. Still waiting on lots of information, from Roanoke about the Fellows spot and the scholarship competition, from E&H she'll need to schedule and audition and wait to hear about that, and from CNU waiting to hear if she got in or not. I really think at this point it comes down to Roanoke or E&H for her and financially I think one of those two will be the best option. Official decision day may still be a ways off but it would be nice to have the decision made.