We are the Knights (that’s pronounced phonetically - cuh-nig-its - as of the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail) Who Say Cyclic, a group of High School students, all of whom attended 6thgrade at Challenger School. At Challenger, we each gained not only a respect of the English language but also the want to change the world. Our noble mission is to improve America, one step at a time – primarily by improving the U.S.’s tongue and correcting false ideas about how its government functions. To learn more, please visit our website at www.cuhnigits.org.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Colleges.

So. I did a lot of college-checking-out on My Trip, it was pretty intense! Here I'll give my best description of the five I toured. If you are still interested in any of them, I recommend College Board for some great information. Just so you know, all of these are small liberal arts colleges (all around 1700 undergrads).

COLBY COLLEGE
Location, if this is important to you: It's kind of in the middle of nowhere up in Maine. No big cities around. Isolated, for better or for worse. But it's in the middle of Maine, which means lots of outdoor opportunities like hiking and skiing.
Campus, if this is important to you: The campus isn't huge and it's open. I found it kinda sparse, not a whole lot of trees or anything. The buildings are all old - pretty, but you know.
Academics, I hope this is important to you :): The structure of their schoolyear is 4:1:4, which means you take four classes in the fall and four in the spring with January interrupting it with one short term (aka, Winterim. They call it "Jan Plan." It's pretty much exactly the same.). There are lots of requirements for classes you need to take, but this is because they want you being open to all disciplines. So they'll have you, say, take any one Visual Arts class and any one Physical Sciences class in addition to whatever requirements you need for your major. As with every college I visited, classes are writing and discussion based. On my tour, the guide emphasized the support system at Colby- from the time you get there, you are surrounded by counselors and advisers and whatnot who are there to help you make your schedule and deal with the transition to college life and all that.
Student body (This is kinda my pet peeve on summer college tours - there aren't actually students on campus so you don't know what they're like. I always try to get a feel for it though... and it's hard.): Colby is a bad example because it's one of the ones I'm least clear on as far as student body goes. I guess they're just your typical students. :/ Yeah sorry.

BOWDOIN COLLEGE
Location: It's about an hour south of Colby, in the awesome town of Brunswick. It's also about ten minutes away from my uncle's house, which is important to me, because it would be nice to have a support network while I'm 2500 miles from home! It's also practically right on the ocean, which is awesome. Of all the colleges I visited, this one has the best location for me. And again, it's Maine - lots of hiking and biking and stuff.
Campus: The campus is gorgeous! Lots of trees, some old buildings and some new buildings. Plus an underground tunnel under the library :) The campus is a bit bigger than Colby's. Plus since it's on the ocean (and owns some islands) there are ample opportunities for marine biology study, if that's your kind of thing. Plus their athletics building has a huge indoor rock climbing wall.
Academics: It has a normal semester calendar - no Winterim - and, as usual, the classes are small, writing-intensive, and discussion based. Bowdoin's claim to fame, I guess, is its principle of "The Common Good" which means that Bowdoin tries to maintain a good relationship with its community and constantly has students involved in volunteer work and anything else that benefits the community. They've also go the "Bowdoin Outing Club" that gives students the opportunity to do stuff in the wilderness whenever they want. Hiking, biking, rock-climbing, kayaking, etc.
Student body: Oh yeah, and a disclaimer: when you go to tour a college, their job is to sell it to you. Which means they shower upon you booklets with glossy pictures of happy students and whatnot. Bowdoin did a better job of this than Colby, so I have a better - but maybe more idealistic - view of their students. One of their booklets had a list "50 things to do before you graduate" that helped me find out what it might be like there. The list included things like "Eat at a professor's house" and I thought that was pretty cool. So my general impression of Bowdoin students: they care about academics but they don't let them get in the way of experiencing the outdoors. They want to give back to their community. Etc. Yep.

DARTMOUTH
Location: Hanover, New Hampshire-- Which is an excellent little college town, but seriously in the middle of nowhere. Which is probably okay for Dartmouth, since it seemed like academics were the paramount thing. All in all, my least fave location. :/
Campus: It's very nice. Again with the old buildings, a nice quad with huge trees and all that. The library is in-CRED-ible and huge. Disclaimer: I couldn't go on the actual tour for Dartmouth, so we just wandered around with a map so we could hit the main buildings. But they only let official tours go in many of the buildings, so I don't know what the dorms are like or anything. Sorry. I regret it too. The science building looked impressive, and since it's an Ivy League I know the labs and everything will be phenomenal.
Academics: Let me say this again... it's an Ivy League. Lots of funding, they've been the best ever since they were founded, they know how to produce amazing people, and you're around other people for whom academics rule. They have something called "The Dartmouth Plan" that lets you customize your schedule, too - lots of opportunities for study abroad and internships and stuff with actual research companies and all that. Yep, opportunities and resources stood out to me definitely. Also, sophomores have a mandatory summer semester before their junior year. JSYK.
Student body: Focused. Motivated. Outstanding. I read somewhere once that while the workload at Dartmouth is heavy, it's not all-consuming. So I guess they have time for other stuff- I just don't know what that stuff is. Dartmouth, surprisingly, didn't really shower me with propaganda and glossy pictures about how happy their students are. So I don't have even a biased picture of life there. Even their website doesn't have much. So... academics.

NEXT UP, Amherst College. Their tour was the best, and their tour guides were the best! Find out why next time on Colleges.

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