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Thursday, June 20, 2013

College trip, 2013

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Incredibly, [insert yet another cliche' about rapid passing of time here], my youngest daughter just completed her junior year of high school and is thus taking her college board tests, receiving piles of mail from various universities, and visiting potential academic homes for fall 2014.

She is primarily interested in schools with excellent theatre programs -- though she has other academic interests as well. This means she is also looking for a very good and well-rounded educational institution.

Last week,  I accompanied my daughter for this itinerary:

Ithaca College (NY):  tour and information session

We had a long travel day Monday because of weather, so we were tired to start the week. But Ithaca is a good school with a well-regarded theatre program and we had an excellent student tour guide (a theatre major!). She emphasized the school's sustainability initiatives and various living opportunities.

Hartt School of University of Hartford (CT):  tour and information session

After making the 5 hour drive from Ithaca, we toured the suburban Hartford campus with one other potential student and his father. The new theatre building is terrific, though remote from the main campus. The BFA students obviously spend most of their time in this location. We also visited downtown Hartford (partly to see the stage, which has a relationship with the university).

Boston University (MA):  tour and information session

BU has a long and thin campus stretching along the Charles River. The tour was packed with dozens of families and both my daughter and I were impressed with the school and its facilities. We vowed to return Friday to visit the theatre program, which was not included on the general tour.

Emerson College (MA):  tour and information session

Emerson has a vertical campus, filling several tall buildings in the theatre district of Boston. The institution has obviously devoted significant resources to the facilities as most of what we saw looked new and impressive. A number of generous alumni have had success producing television programs (Friends and Will & Grace).

Tufts (MA): student tour (pictured above).

We lived near Tufts back in 2005 while I was on sabbatical, but my daughter didn't remember much of that period (she was 8 when we arrived). I also visited Tufts with her sister in 2010. In any case, Tufts is a very good school with a nice campus. The tour guides told us about Jumbo, the mascot and I made a joke about elephants (and zombies) in a tweet.

BU (return visit)

We went back to BU in the afternoon to tour the theatre building and meet with a couple of current students. The facility is old and undergoing renovation (slowly, it seems), but the program seems first rate. The student guide for the tour kept referring to it as a conservatory.

Previously, my daughter visited Webster, Washington University, Northwestern, Columbia College, DePaul, Wright State, Ball State, University of Illinois, Otterbein, Baldwin Wallace, Mary Baldwin, University of Virginia, Georgetown, Barnard, NYU, Rutgers, Marymount Manhattan, and University of Evansville.

Those are roughly in the order of the visits and I marked the schools that I also saw with her. She has fewer geographic constraints than her older sister and has already visited schools in DC, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Virginia.

She still intends to visit Michigan and perhaps a school or two in California.

Feel free to provide any insight about these choices in comments. We are about to enter the winnowing stage. That reality makes it harder for me to ask, "Why not Kansas or Maryland?"

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