Did yâ€™all think I was done with my travelogue? Pfft. Please. We didnâ€™t fly out on Friday until 4 p.m., which gave us plenty of time for one more wee adventure. Okay, maybe it was less adventure and more exploring.
We have right here in Jenworld not one, but TWO, teenagers. Both of whom will be in high school this year. (How did that happen?) Both of whom are more than a little bit smart. (Iâ€™m not apologizing for the humblebrag.) Both of whom will be looking at colleges in the coming few years.
While itâ€™s still a little early to be looking in earnest, thereâ€™s no reason why we canâ€™t take a general look at whatâ€™s out there. Because, while we know a thing or two or 20 about the various Virginia universities, we donâ€™t know much about the non-Virginia ones. So if weâ€™re in a different city or country anyway, why not just look at their local university?
Which was how we found ourselves exploring McGill in Montreal last summer. And why on Friday we took a detour through Palo Alto to see what Stanford looked like.
And yâ€™all, Stanford is waaaaaay different from what weâ€™re used to. The University of Virginia has orange-red brick, white columns, a lot of neoclassical architecture, and lots and lots of deciduous trees. Stanford, on the other hand, has a lot of this:
Stucco roofs. Sandstone. Palm trees. We definitely arenâ€™t in Virginia.
Since it was a holiday, everything was closed and there were no campus tours that day. Instead, we just walked around and admired what we saw. The four of us talked generally about university life and what might be important to the girls when they start making decisions about where to apply. I didnâ€™t even get sniffly, although I did mention that if they want to go to school nottoofar from home, we wouldnâ€™t mind at all.
After that, our vacation was pretty much done. We drove to the San Francisco airport and flew off into the sunset.
Stanford is indeed lovely, but your part of the world has SO many beautiful campuses. Many good reasons for choosing faraway (and less faraway) college experiences…
I do believe it is a difference in West Coast, vs. East Coast. Here, you have the laid back atmosphere that is most certainly attached to the temperate weather we have year â€™round. I know when I visited some East Coast colleges (not to attend, but to visit people I knew there) I was so impressed with what felt like *history*. I think the architecture had a lot to do with the feelings I felt, but overall, it was a very distinct impression as I looked around at the buildings, plus the grounds themselves. I also believe most people on the East Coast just know that their colleges have this effect. Academics aside, the seasons will also play into choice. Flipflops (if that is your preference) and light casual wear are simply a part of the background of a California school…no matter Stanford, or Berkeley. Perhaps the school buildings + grounds reflect that casual effect…?
My now-graduated senior and I visited Stanford during the fall of her junior year. It wasnâ€™t a realistic option, but we were in the area looking at other schools (UC Berkeley, primarily) and so we couldnâ€™t justify NOT stopping. Her summary: “Itâ€™s like Disneyland for students!” It was just so gorgeous. After she looked at the info packets she said, “well, too bad I didnâ€™t visit when I was in fourth grade, because thatâ€™s about when I would have had to start overachieving if I wanted to get in.”
Betcha Laura squeals when she finds out G & E were at Stanford.
Your daughters have travelled more than most, but I think thereâ€™s something to be said for living somewhere different from home.
On the other hand, you canâ€™t beat an oldfashioned brick or stone campus.
H-J didnâ€™t even need to visit Stanford to know it was #1 on his wish list. Iâ€™m still bummed for him that he didnâ€™t get in but thereâ€™s always graduate school. (I suspect the reason was two-fold: it was his first college interview and he didnâ€™t do as well as later interviews with other colleges, and Stanford is a whole lotta “itâ€™s WHO you know.”)
Love, love, love that you guys do stuff like this. Iâ€™ve tried to get the message across to my nieces and nephews that college is a) awesome and b) not a choice of “if” but of “where” they go. Sadly, my success rate isnâ€™t great so far.
BTW, thatâ€™s a seriously beautiful campus.
I am all for the early college visits.