California College Tours

5 things I loved about University of Redlands

1. The University of Redlands’ mission statement is “We welcome, educate, and empower a diverse community of learners for lives of meaning, impact, and joy.” By volunteering 80+ hours in the local community, each Redlands’ student upholds the university’s values of excellence, exploration, inclusivity, justice, kindness and service.

2. Redlands has its own study abroad campus in Salzburg, Austria where students can study with their Redlands peers and professors. Or they can choose from 80+ additional locations around the world. The 4-4-1 academic calendar allows lots of students, especially athletes, the opportunity to go abroad during May term where they focus on one class at a time.  

3. The Johnston Center for Integrative Studies allows students the flexibility to create their own major. Students in this program craft their own educational vision and customize their curriculum with the expert guidance of advisors who specialize in fostering interdisciplinary connections. 

4. With a music conservatory on campus, Redlands hosts 200+ theater, arts, music, dance and other cultural events each year. And since Redlands has a 4-year housing requirement, students are always close by to attend these engaging events and get involved with any of the 70+ clubs on campus! One of the most popular is Esports, which has a cool new building that hosts gaming events, competitions and movie nights.

5. Redlands has an LA Metro stop on campus, making it easy for students to access the greater Los Angeles area! Centrally located, destinations such as Joshua Tree, Big Bear Lake, Disneyland, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Long Beach and San Diego are popular weekend getaways. And for students who have cars, parking is always free at Redlands– all four years!

BONUS ♥️ Redlands has had a live bulldog mascot since 1918, and a campus highlight is getting to meet George, the 8th official mascot! Check him out on the socials at ​​@urmascot

LA and Beyond College Tours for NCL

Out of State

5 Things I loved about Xavier University

1. At Xavier, students have six advisors ready to coach them to success all four years. The moment a student becomes a Musketeer, they get paired with their Success Coach who helps them transition to Xavier and navigate their new environment. Along the way, students also regularly connect with their academic advisor, career coach, peer mentor, financial aid advisor and professional mentor, an Xavier alum working in the student’s field of interest. This personalized support truly distinguishes Xavier.

2. Xavier University holds the patent on the Pizza ATM, a fully automated, super cool contraption that makes customized pizza on demand, 24/7. Located in Fenwick Place, the sophomore dorm, the Pizza ATM is truly an Xavier hot spot! With its two-year live on campus requirement, Xavier has plenty of housing for the 5,000 undergraduate students who come from 49 states. 

3. D1 sports are huge at Xavier, and student tickets are always free. Conveniently located on campus, the Cintas Center seats 10,000+ fans during basketball games. Whether you’re on one of their 19 D1 sports teams, you play a club or intramural sport, or you just like to work out, Xavier’s brand new Health United building is a popular student hang out that provides tons of options for staying fit! 

4. As a Jesuit school, Xavier allows students to decide how much they want to prioritize their faith in college. Approximately 40% of students are Catholic and there are 19 different faiths represented on campus. Rooted in the campus tradition of service to others, Xavier’s Alternative Breaks are student-organized programs that highlight a particular social justice issue that students educate each other on and then head to a destination to make an impact. For example, some visit the coast of California to help conserve an important ecosystem, while others refurbish homes for refugees in Boise, Idaho. 

5. Xavier students take full advantage of big city perks, given their close proximity to downtown Cincinnati (aka “The Queen City”). Located along the Ohio River, Cincy has three professional sports teams, 52 distinct neighborhoods, a thriving arts and culture scene, tons of history, cool murals, chili and more great eats! 

5 things I loved about The Ohio State University

1. The Ohio Union is a campus destination filled with Buckeye pride! This gorgeous building bleeds scarlet and gray, Ohio’s signature colors, and the school’s identifying logo and symbols (from the giant “O” to the buckeye leaf) adorn every corner as they are carved into the wood, built into the chandeliers and displayed proudly in spaces where students relax, study, eat and plan campus events. 

2. There are 18 libraries on The Ohio State campus, including the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum which houses the world’s largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics. The Thompson Library, which serves as the campus’s main library, has a grand reading room and cool study spaces overlooking the stacks. From the 11th floor reading room, students can enjoy a 360 degree view of campus and downtown Columbus, including glimpses of Ohio Stadium, the fourth-largest on-campus facility in the nation that seats 102,780 fans during Buckeye football games.

3. Fun fact: the Ice Cream Drumstick was created by Ohio State food scientists in 1928. To this day, research and innovation go hand-in-hand at this university, where industry partnerships provide cutting-edge opportunities to advance knowledge and solve problems. Mechanical engineers can take advantage of Ohio’s partnership with Toyota, future vets can improve their practices based on research from Ohio State’s Equine Center and aerospace engineers can celebrate that Ohio State was chosen as the research home for Starlab’s George Washington Carver Science Park Terrestrial Laboratory, the first-ever space science park on Earth. 

4. Ohio State just opened two brand new buildings dedicated to the arts. The $165.3 million project included both renovation and expansion to the School of Music building and construction of a new Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts building. Students also can enjoy exhibitions, performances, screenings, educational programs, artist residencies, and publications through the Wexner Center for the Arts, which the Washington Post has deemed “one of the most dynamic contemporary programs in the country.” 

5. Ohio State is committed to providing students with various opportunities to make the large campus (with over 40,000 students) feel smaller. To build community during freshman year, Ohio State offers Living Learning Communities that make students feel more connected to OSU. And second year students can join STEP, the Second-year Transformational Experience Program where they work with a small group of peers and a faculty mentor to set goals, explore ideas and craft a proposal for a signature STEP project.  

5 Things I loved about University of Michigan

1. Museums are abundant at UMich! Whether students are interested in art, archaeology, natural history, zoology, paleontology, anthropology, the stars, dentistry, musical instruments, plants or trees, they can access world-renowned resources in these specialized museums. For example, the archaeology museum is so immense, they only have room to display 2% of their collection.

2. Located in the middle of UMich’s Central Campus, the Diag is a large, grassy space filled with sidewalks that cut across the quad in a seemingly random fashion. When UMich decided to make pathways through the quad, they observed where the students had worn down the grass and made each thoroughfare official, making it even easier for students to get to UMich’s most frequented buildings.

3. 98% of freshmen live on campus in 18 different dorms, many recently renovated. Students who want a more close-knit family can join one of 10+ Michigan Learning Communities to combine their academic and residential experiences. These intentional communities provide students with access to specialized courses and programming geared towards their interests. 

4. The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program creates partnerships between students and researchers. Students can apply into the program as early as their freshman year and participate in a weekly seminar where they learn the ins and outs of research and ways to facilitate professional development to help them engage with researchers. 

5. UMich has 20 different libraries, many of them specialized, and two of them open 24/7. Within the Shapiro Library, students have access to multiple creative spaces for individual projects and collaborative work. The Design Lab has 3-D printers, die cutters, engraving machines, and other hands-on equipment, and there are multiple production and editing studios for audio and video projects, game design, 3D and graphic design, data visualization, animation, and more.

5 things I loved about Ohio Wesleyan

1.  As a Colleges That Change Lives school, Ohio Wesleyan’s academic culture promotes personalized learning and opportunities to engage with professors. Most classes at Ohio Wesleyan will have 10-15 students and can be a mixture of discussion-based, seminar and lecture style classes. OWU offers an impressive collection of 70 different majors and their approach towards ‘gen ed’ classes is truly unique, promoting interdisciplinary thinking and building nine core skills that align with the traits future employers highly value most. 

2. Students live on campus all 4 years at OWU and have a variety of residential life options. The freshman dorm has been completely renovated and has cool lounge spaces, a full kitchen, a workout room and a 24/7 cafeteria! Sophomores and up have the option to live in one of eight different “Small Living Units,” which are thematic houses where students can form intentional communities and bond over shared identities and priorities. 

3. The town of Delaware provides OWU students with easy access to a downtown full of fun! Just down the street, students can shop, see a movie at the historic Strand Theater, go to the bi-weekly farmers’ market, and dine at multiple restaurants and cafes. Plus all of the excitement of downtown Columbus, including a zoo, multiple museums, sports opportunities and more, is less than 40 minutes away! 

4. Building community starts early at OWU where all freshmen participate in one of three pre-orientation trips. Whether they attend the service, wilderness or challenge camp, students get to know their peers and mentors as they transition to college. Fun activities continue all year long and include popular events such as the President’s Ball and “Day on the Jay,” with free shirts, food, activities, crafts, and more.

5. This small liberal arts college is well known for cultivating entrepreneurship amongst its students. The Woltemade Center for Economics, Business, and Entrepreneurship offers special programs, fellowships and scholarships to provide opportunities, strengthen soft skills and prepare OWU students for the working world.

5 Things I loved about Miami University (Ohio)

1.  The motto “Love and Honor” creates the magic of spending four years at Miami University. This code is embedded in Miami’s traditions that support a welcoming, supportive environment for students to build community. There are 600+ clubs and orgs for students to explore their interests, develop skills and build networks. 

2. Poet Robert Frost described Miami as “The most beautiful campus that ever there was.” The brick, modified Georgian-style architecture is consistent across campus, and all new construction is centered around the same red brick mold, including the brand new $96 million complex for Clinical Health Sciences and Wellbeing, which houses classrooms, labs and the on-campus clinic and mental health center for all students.

3. The town of Oxford is consistently ranked one of the top college towns in the US, with a brick-paved “Uptown,” filled with blocks of restaurants, shops and an amphitheater to enhance students’ lives. A two-year live-on campus housing requirement, thriving living/learning communities, plus plenty of residential options in the surrounding neighborhood means students stay engaged on campus during weekends. 

4. Miami is committed to fostering the undergraduate student experience, and consistently lands top billing for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Academic flexibility is built into Miami’s core, where 60% of graduates completed multiple majors or added 1+ minors. Additionally, Miami has 35 combined degree programs for students to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in an accelerated time frame. 

5.  When Miami was designing the Armstrong Student Center, they asked students what they missed most about their homes. The answer was their living room! So Miami constructed the Shade Family Room, complete with lounging spaces, big windows, cool lighting and a huge fireplace to create a cozy atmosphere for studying and socializing. 

5 things I loved about Oregon State University

1. Seven cultural resource centers, complete with full kitchens, lounges and libraries, offer a home for students seeking to connect with their identities. The centers are also a hub of popular activities and OSU traditions. Students can pick up cookies every Friday from the Women and Gender center and participate in their clothing swap every term. The Eena Haws Indigenous-based center has an annual salmon roast where they bring in 1,000 pounds of fish and students wait 3 hours to sample the deliciousness! 

2. The Dixon Rec Center helps OSU students stay active with athletic fields, a pool, a decked out gym, and one of the largest rock walls on the west coast. For just $20 a term, a student can play as many intramural sports as they want, including the ever popular inner tube water polo and kayak battleship. Corvallis is also recognized as a Gold Level bicycle friendly community. Each week, students can eat well when they can pick up a Healthy Beaver Bag, a meal kit that contains new recipes and all the necessary ingredients! 

3. OSU is one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the US. This designation means their research is deeply connected to the natural world, and that beauty starts on the OSU campus, an accredited arboretum. OSU’s College of Forestry is ranked #1 in the US (and #2 in the world) and students enjoy 50% of class time outside. Oceanography students can spend time on OSU’s research vessel located in Newport, where they are building the next generation of regional-class research vessels for the U.S. scientific fleet.

4. OSU has multiple Living-Learning Communities (LLCs) and Special Interest Communities where students can live with peers who are either studying the same subjects or are seeking connection through key identities. For example, business students can join the Innovation Nation LLC and have access to the DAMlab makerspace — a partnership between the College of Business and the College of Engineering filled with cool design and prototyping tools enabling them to realize their business ideas. 

5. Engineering is huge at OSU, with 9,000 undergraduates studying 13 different engineering disciplines, with CS being the largest major on campus. The first year program introduces students to the various engineering options, and throughout their education, students can do research, network, participate in a co-op program and get involved with numerous clubs, from robotics to Global Formula racing to solar planes. The engineering program offers free peer tutoring and has their own wellness coordinator because they understand the challenges of the majors. OSU has broken ground on a new $200 million building that will serve as a center to support innovative collaboration to drive tech research in the state. 

5 Things I loved about University of Oregon 

1.  74% of undergraduates participate in research, and some get to work in the Oregon Coffee Laboratory with professor Christopher H. Hendon, an international expert on the science of coffee. University of Oregon is also the zebrafish capital of the world, where their population outnumber students 5:1. 

2. Oregon’s business school ranks in the top 1.5% in the world and students can specialize in entrepreneurship, sports business, accounting, finance, marketing and operations and business analytics. The Women in Business is the biggest club on campus, and the Sports Business Club comes in second. 

3. 29% of students study abroad, some even choosing to go international during freshman year, opting for programs in London, Siena or Spain. Just google Global Education Oregon to check out all of the exciting options. 

4. The arts are thriving at Oregon, which has its own art museum on campus and hosts 300+ performances a year. Ensembles are open to students in all majors, and the movie Pitch Perfect was inspired by one of Oregon’s acapella groups. On campus, the Knight Arena regularly draws big-name performers and the Craft Center has studio spaces for darkroom photography, woodworking, glassworking, paper arts, printmaking, fiber arts, jewelry and metalsmithing, painting and drawing, and ceramics. 

5. The impressive Student Rec Center promotes active, balanced, healthy lifestyles for all Ducks! There’s a rock wall, an indoor track, intramural sports, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and much more. Plus for just $50/quarter, students have unlimited access to fitness classes. Or you can ‘check out’ a bike for $8/month and explore Oregon’s natural beauty!

5 things I loved about Washington State University

1. For just $300 students can join the “Zoo Crew” and cheer on their Division 1 Cougars at all home games, including PAC-12 football and basketball games. But you don’t have to a D 1 athlete to play on the fields as all students are welcome to enjoy the facilities.

2. Research is accessible at this university where the 19,000 undergraduates dominate in numbers as there are only 1,000 grad students on campus. One unique location is WSU’s Bear Center, the only grizzly bear research facility in the US and home to 13 injured bears. 

3. Washington State’s Hospitality major is ranked #2 in the US and #10 in the world, supported by a training suite donated by Marriott Hotels, a partnership with a Switzerland hospitality college and a 1000 hours experiential learning requirement.

4. On this very hilly, and often snowy campus, igloo-making and sledding are popular winter pastimes! When the university feared kids would sled down the big hill into oncoming traffic, the physics department did the math and proved sledding was safe!

5. A $30 million renovation recently jazzed up the Commons Student Center and the Frank Innovation Zone, a makerspace enjoyed by students from over 40+ campus clubs ranging from architecture to theater to engineering. 

5 Things I loved about University of Arizona

1. Cultural outreach is huge on campus and students love AROMAS, a long-standing program that connects Latinx/Hispanic students with Tucson grandmas who provide support, hugs and opportunities to bring their culture to campus. 

2. A cool sculpture in front of the science building depicts professors, their scientific discoveries, & the color of socks they were wearing when they founded their discovery at U of AZ! 

3. For just $125, you can join the “Zona Zoo,” get tickets to all home football games and sit in the student section with 5,563 other Wildcat fans. 

4. University of Arizona’s outdoor pool is just one stunning feature of their student athletic facility and happens to be open for everyone until midnight

5. The spirited motto “Bear Down” gets repainted every year on the roof of one of the university buildings. The sign is so large you can read it from an airplane. 

Read more about University of Arizona below!

The University of Arizona campus has a larger city feel while still being small and tight-knit with 30-33k undergrads in one square mile. It’s a free-public-transportation and bike-friendly campus (including free bike valet) with three campus rec centers full of equipment and classes: very fitting for the mountainous landscape of Arizona, ideal for biking, hiking, and days in the sun. The original 1887 Old Main building shares the campus with seven libraries, the Integrated Learning and Bartlett Student Success Centers, and a host of lab spaces, lecture halls, and collaborative learning spaces, not your traditional classrooms. The Student Union building is the main dining facility, with a range of restaurant style eating, all-you-can-eat cafeterias, eateries, and fast-food options like Chick-Fil-A and Panda Express. 

Research and sports receive equal funding at this Tier 1 research university. Access to research is emphasized and offerings are diverse; psychology and business are big, but so are opportunities in philosophy and law through the PPEL program, in medicine with the two hospitals, and in astronomy with NASA partnerships to make Tucson the astronomy capital of the world. Still, undecideds and changes of major are popular and expected. With a 17:1 student to faculty ratio and many first year classes capped at 35 students, students are supported in deciding what they want to study. University of Arizona students access resources appropriate for a school ranking top 15 in the nation for health and wellness, ranging from free tutoring and a writing center to a food pantry and campus closet to First Gen Thrive and Dog Days with the Dean. The SALT center for academic support is the largest program of its kind in the world and the gold-standard, providing 1:1 support, workshops and technology resources for students with disabilities. 

The University of Arizona is a spirit icon today, and understandably so. Whether you’re looking to play Division 1 sports in the PAC-12, travel with club sports, try things out with intramurals, or sit in the 10,000 person student section at a football game, the university lives up to this reputation, even without mentioning the “fight song” being played everyday at noon. With a Red Pass, students will have no trouble attending football games, and basketball games are also popular, just with less space to watch. Students can also go off-campus for their recreation on outdoor rec trips with rented equipment, kayaking in the Grand Canyon, and surfing in San Diego. But, it’s not just athletics: there’s a radio station, a daily wildcat newspaper, an esports gaming lounge, and the Catalyst maker space with 3d printers and sewing machines. 

Some students are drawn to the university especially for its W.A. Franke Honors College program where students choose their classes, access research and live in the honors village. Interested students submit a personal statement, letter of recommendation, an activities resume and any fine arts supplements, ideally by November, to secure a place in the program. Any student interested in the university can access the online degree search tool and Scholarship Universe, a great resource for additional scholarship money. Once enrolled, students should submit their $150 housing deposit ASAP to access the best housing of the first-come, first-served options in their first year; housing is not guaranteed for freshmen. Most students live on-campus in their first year in 4 high-rise-filled, dorm districts containing doubles with community bathrooms, double suites, singles, and apartment style housing. Students can choose their own roommate, find one through social media, fill out a survey, statement and compatibility rating, or go random. There are also the options of living-learning communities (LLCs) for finding and building community. 

The University of Arizona prides itself in its campus culture, sports and research facilities, and for the 40k undergraduate students living in Tucson with its 300 days of sunshine and the best 23 miles of Mexican food, this pride is felt with every cheer of “Bear Down”.

5 things I loved about Case Western Reserve University

1.  Case Western nursing students graduate with 1300+ hours of hands-on, clinical experience

2.  The Think Box, a 7-story maker space, is the largest of any university and pairs well with the Blackstone LaunchPad program for business advice. 

3. The full-scale wind turbine on campus provides a real-life environment for Case engineering students to test cutting-edge ideas

4.  Case Western students have access to the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and more- all within walking distance! 

5.  Playhouse Square in Cleveland is the second most active theater district in the US and Case students get discounted performance tickets

Read more about Case Western below!

Collaborative. Down to earth. Nerds. Put into action. Not afraid to pursue what they are interested in. Friendly. Genuine. These are words which describe Case Western Reserve University. For the 6,000 undergraduate students attending this Cleveland university, support and opportunities, especially for nursing and engineering students, abound. 

After applying to Case Western (and being automatically considered for 10-40k in merit aid), students would be admitted to the university, rather than a specific program. Students can then take classes in a subject to give it a try (including engineering), and then double or even triple major. Case Western offers a Pre-Professional Scholars Programs in Medicine and Dentistry, granting conditional admissions to Case’s medical and dental program to a few outstanding entering first-year undergraduates. Case Western students have lots of research opportunities, even in their first year, internship programs (including with Wall Street), and Masters degree opportunities as well. ⅓ of students study the humanities, and for those musicians and artists, they can cross-register with the Cleveland Institute for Music and Art if they are accepted to both. 

Two programs where Case Western stands out as a university are its Engineering and Nursing. Within Engineering, students take general engineering for their first year, and then can specialize. Whether students are pursuing Chemical Engineering, Car Design, Robotics, or both Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering which are only one credit away from each other, Case Western has a global human design core for engineering. ⅓ of engineers take part in co-op engineering semesters, where for one or two semesters they do not pay tuition but rather get paid to have real world engineering experiences.

Case Western Nursing is 5th in the nation, and understandably so with 3 major hospitals providing so many opportunities for shadowing, volunteering, and research, whether specializing or rotation. Nursing students get 1300 hours of hands-on experience and clinical hours, including opportunities for a helicopter simulation. Students declare Nursing in their first year of undergrad, and are out in the hospital getting real world experience by their 3rd week. 

With so many opportunities, it is only right that students are equally supported in accessing them. Students benefit from lots of academic and professional advising, very accessible professors, and up to 5 free hours a week of free peer tutoring. Blackstone Launchpad offers business advice and the law school can help with patent applications. 

But, it’s not all academics for Case Western students. Starting with casino night during the weeklong orientation, school spirit here thrives through its traditions, including an annual relay race, 11-story pumpkin drop, spring comedian, and legacy week. And with 200 clubs and orgs, there is something for everyone, regardless of major; among other things, Case Western students dedicate themselves to the student run EMT, improv, and lots of music and performance groups. 

Once on campus, everything in University Circle is walkable. In the first two years, all students live on campus, and 80% live on campus for all four years. Some highlights include the Merging Fountain: a symbol for the 1967 merger of the schools, recently renovated theater spaces, and Nobel Prize wall with all of the award winners. 

Cleveland itself, where Case Western calls home, has a lot to offer. Using the RTA public transport pass, students can travel 20 minutes to downtown Cleveland. There, enjoy hiking, museums, an arboretum, and performances by the Cleveland Symphony and from local and touring groups in Playhouse Square (which has the largest outdoor chandelier) with student discounts. Students are also a train ride away from the airport and 30 minutes to Ohio City with its market, board game cafe, and cat cafe. Locally, Case Western students enjoy Mitchells Ice Cream.

5 Things I loved about Gonzaga University

1. It’s a tradition for students to camp out for 2 days to get basketball tickets to the hottest rivalry games

2. “How to Zag” workshops demystify what it means to go to college and emphasizes available resources

3. 60% of students study abroad, including engineers and nurses, many at Gonzaga’s campus in Florence, Italy

4. There’s a direct path to Spokane’s Riverfront Park and owntown, complete with shops, restaurants, cafes and touring Broadway shows

5. Gonzaga’s focus on the transformative power of education encourages students to ask, “Who am I?” and “How can I serve?”

Read more about Gonzaga below!

The 5,000 undergraduate students who attend Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, come together to educate their “mind, body and spirit.” And they’re also spirited Bulldog fans!

According to basketball coaches, Gonzaga is the 3rd toughest place to play because the student cheering section is so intense!

Zags bring this same unifying passion to their commitment to community service, and welcoming each other on campus and in the classroom. Gonzaga students are known for being excited, warm, friendly and very involved on campus!

As a Jesuit institution, Gonzaga sees religion as an invitation, not an obligation. There are 30+ religions represented on campus, and Gonzaga is committed to deep engagement with all intellectual traditions. There is no required mass, but students do take two religion courses, one in world religions and another in Christianity as Gonzaga wants students to understand how religion has shaped the world throughout history.

Gonzaga offers over 50+ majors, including business administration, accounting, engineering (6 different concentrations), computer science, nursing and communications. The average class size is 23, labs have 17 students, and the largest classes have 45-50 students. All classes are taught by professors, and Gonzaga is proud to be ranked 12th best for undergraduate teaching. Gonzaga offers free tutoring for all and helps manage over 700+ learning accommodation plans for its students.

There’s a 2-year live-on campus requirement for students to build community. Interested students can apply to one of 10 learning living communities on campus to foster relationships and cultivate interests.

Gonzaga has over 140+ clubs on campus, including many multi-cultural affinity groups and a Queer Student Union. Gonzaga has earned a 4 out of 5 star ranking on the Campus Pride Index for their inclusive LGBTQ+ policies and they are actively working towards 5 stars.

Intramural sports are huge at Gonzaga, with over 60% of students participating. In fact, last year, over 2,000 IM basketball games were played at Gonzaga (more than all MLB games played in the country!) Student musicians can play in the Bulldog Band and travel around the country with Gonzaga’s famous basketball team.

For intellectually curious students, Gonzaga offers an Honors program, which 80 students join each year. As the admissions rep explained, the Honors program allows students to take their Gonzaga education to the next level. Students can live together in the honors dorm and take extra classes if desired.

It’s easy to see why students love their campus in Spokane, which means ‘children of the sun.’ Students get to enjoy all four seasons, a campus-full of activities and easy access to a downtown full of fun! Gonzaga is proud of their 93% retention rate and it’s clear they are committed to cultivating a welcoming space for all of their students to grow and thrive.

5 things I loved about Wesleyan University

1. Football and baseball games happen right in the middle of campus, generating tons of school spirit. 

2. Lin Manuel Miranda wrote, produced and staged “In the Heights” during his time as a student at Wesleyan. 

3. Students enjoy cookies under the stars on Wednesday nights at the Van Vleck Observatory. 

4. They have an ice skating rink and an Olympic-size pool on campus.

5. There’s an aptly named “Pi Cafe” in the Exley Science Center for all your coffee needs. 

Read more about Wesleyan below!

Wesleyan University, located in Middleton, CT, stole my heart, even in the midst of the wickedest winter weather! Even through the pouring rain and tempestuous winds, I could feel Wesleyan radiate with energy and potential.

Wesleyan is known for its open curriculum, which enables students to take classes of their own choosing. The admission rep said this helps attract quirky, creative, collaborative students with divergent interests who are willing to step out of their comfort zone and learn from peers.

The Center for the Arts is an 11-building complex, home to a thriving arts scene at Wesleyan, complete with lots of student theater and film studies opportunities. The building has a system of underground tunnels so artists can safely transport their materials when the weather is less than ideal and promotes collaboration amongst disciplines.

As a university, Wesleyan receives funding for research, which undergraduates can participate in. Due to the interactive nature of the classrooms, it’s common to be a footnote in a professor’s research paper.

Wesleyan also offers 4+1 Master’s degree programs (5th year tuition free) in the following disciplines: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, College of Integrative Sciences, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Mathematics & Computer Science, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, Neuroscience & Behavior Physics and Psychology.

As a residential institution, Wesleyan promotes “progressive independence.” Freshman year, students live in dorms. Next year, they can live in themed housing or apartments, and finally, senior year, students can live in Wesleyan-owned homes that surround the campus! That means, when it snows, Wesleyan seniors are shoveling their own driveways!

Sports are a dynamic feature of Wesleyan student life, and 60% of students participate in some form of athletics on campus. Both the football and baseball fields are prominently located in the middle of campus. This means the majority of students can see the games from any number of spots on campus, including the library, with its giant windows that overlook the fields.

The town of Westminster is very walkable from campus and students can take advantage of all that downtown has to offer, from restaurants and cafes to specialty shops, hiking trails and quintessential New England life. Students who want to learn more about Wesleyan can connect with a student through WesChats.

My Wesleyan tour and info session was very thorough as an admissions rep and student took the time to answer questions for an hour after the 90-minute tour. The rep concluded with the following thoughtful advice for students: “Be yourself! Don’t sacrifice who you are, and don’t burn yourself out! Take care of yourself during this process.”

5 Things I loved about NYU

1. The Leslie E-Lab serves as an incubator hub for entrepreneurial students to launch their ideas. 

2. NYU owns the only private street in NYC, and it’s home to their immersive language houses.

3. The most popular Starbucks in NYC is on the NYU Dining Dollars plan. 

4. Discounted tickets are available to performances all over NYC. 

5. NYU students have 24/7 access to research librarians around the globe.

Read more about NYU below!

Located primarily in Greenwich Village, New York University is the epitome of an urban, international campus. Students come here to step outside of their comfort zone, make friends from around the globe, and learn from world-renowned professors. 

With 3 degree-granting campuses (NYC, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai) and 12 study away sites, opportunities abound for students to explore and learn on a global scale. NYC’s campus is home to 11 schools, each with a different focus, which students apply to based on their major or program of interest. Students can minor across the various schools, but all double majors need to be housed in the College of Arts and Sciences.

While NYU has campuses and centers throughout the city, most of the action is centered around Washington Square, NYC’s famous park that doubles as NYU’s quad. For students who are energized by city life, the surrounding blocks provide quick access to shops, galleries, clubs, and restaurants galore. 

NYU’s library and the Kimmel Center for University Life serve as two central meeting spots for students. As one of the largest open-stacks facilities in the US, the library is a truly awe-inspiring! And the Kimmel Center is home to hundreds of student organizations, a marketplace, lounges and the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, an 860-seat theater that draws big name performers and speakers. 

A highlight of my tour was stepping back in time, onto Washington Mews, a cobblestoned street that is privately owned by NYU and home to multiple foreign language houses. NYU offers instruction in 38 different languages, a great preparation for study abroad, which 40% of NYU students take advantage of.  

95% of NYU freshmen and 50% of sophomores live on campus (where there are no communal bathrooms). After the first two years, most students live off campus with friends. Safety is key at NYU and every building has campus security. There are also free ride services that pick up students around the city, no questions asked.  

For students who are energized by urban life, NYU offers the opportunity to be surrounded by all that New York City offers 24-hours a day, a truly unparalleled experience for the right student.

5 things I loved about Barnard College 

1. The Maker Space in the Milstein Library was decked out with cool gear and projects. 

2. Students have the flexibility to design their own major 

3. Freshman orientation preps students on living in NYC 

4. Opening the massive doors on the Diana Center generates energy for the whole building

5. Underground tunnels connect all academic buildings on campus 

Read more about Barnard below!

I love it when a great tour can wipe away a rain-filled, gloomy day, and that’s exactly what happened at Barnard College when my guide shed light on so many of her “Why Barnard” reasons! You’d never know she was conducting her first tour as she illuminated the benefits of living in the heart of NYC amongst her collaborative peers, supported by an institution that fosters community and promotes outreach and access to first generation/low-income students. 

Our tour started with a brief history lesson as Barnard was founded in 1889 by suffragists when Columbia refused to allow women. Now the two institutions, located across the street from each other, have a partnership that grants Barnard students the best of both worlds. They live and study amongst their peers in the close-knit atmosphere of Barnard and have full access to all that Columbia has to offer, including classes, libraries, dining halls, research facilities, clubs and Ivy League division sports. 

While some Barnard students love to mix it up and cross the street over to Columbia, plenty are content to immerse themselves fully in all that Barnard offers, including theater (which the Columbia kids come to Barnard for), architecture, dance, specialized summer research opportunities and much more.

Architecturally diverse, Barnard has invested in major campus updates, including the Milstein Center, their state-of-the-art library, and new revisions to the science building to transform STEM opportunities, which 30% of Barnard students major in. 

Ninety percent of Barnard students live on campus, where freshmen start out in the conveniently located quad, close to all academic buildings. Upperclass students live in off-campus, suite-style housing owned by Barnard and make the short city trek to classes and activities.

Barnard’s Modes of Thinking class requirements inspire students to branch out and explore new topics, which the tour guide explained helped many of her friends discover their majors. Double majoring is very common at Barnard due to the flexibility of the curriculum, and the Athena Center for Leadership helps students find solutions to problems they want to solve through fellowships and internships. 

Barnard takes campus security seriously and has many precautions in place to keep students safe. Campus is locked down at 11pm, all buildings require a key swipe for entry and 24/7 doormen monitor all entryways. Students have useful apps and free ride programs that promote safety and help students get home from places all around the city.

Though academically intense, Barnard students are supportive and “everyone is here for one another,” declared my tour guide. Prospective students who have questions can access the “Ask a Barnard Student” to connect with a current student for insights and answers.

5 Things I loved about McDaniel College

1. It snowed while I was on campus! 

2. Students take a “My Career” class to learn resume writing, interviewing, salary negotiating and networking.

3. College mascot is the “Green Terror,” a metaphor for “The Hill,” where the ever-popular McDaniel tailgating events take place.

4. ASL program is taught by professors who are deaf or hard of hearing.

5. The Psychology Department has a pigeon lab on campus for research.

Read more about McDaniel below!

The 1,800 students who attend McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland are well-supported throughout their time on campus. The McDaniel Commitment ensures students graduate with a well-rounded, interdisciplinary, liberal arts background, and are prepared to communicate and think critically. 

The McDaniel Plan starts with a 2-day summer event where students tour campus, participate in a community service event, have dinner in town and pick their classes. During their first semester, students take a First Year seminar where they discuss the transition to college, meet the librarians and their peer advisor, and learn how to write 15-page papers. A student’s first year seminar teacher serves as their academic advisor until a student declares their major and helps students customize their path. 

McDaniel students are required to participate in at least two experiential learning opportunities relating to their interests. The Center for Experience and Opportunity connects students to service learning, study abroad, credit-based internships, and independent studies.

Study abroad opportunities are plentiful as McDaniel has its own campus in Budapest, and lots of options for domestic and abroad January-term trips. 

The Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship helps students cultivate their ideas through mentorship and opportunities, preparing students for 21st century careers that require innovation, perseverance, and self-starting. McDaniel has multiple 5-year master’s programs, including several in Education.

McDaniel also has an Honors Program (with additional merit aid awards), where students who demonstrate intellectual curiosity and an intrinsic motivation to learn come together to take challenging courses in diverse disciplines. 

Residential life is busy at McDaniel, with 85% of students living on campus. Homecoming is huge and brings the entire surrounding community of Westminster together onto McDaniel’s Hill. Throughout the year, there are special events including a Rubber Duck hunt, film festivals, art displays and four theater performances. 

Students can join multiple clubs (including the Bad Cinema club) and Greek life, hang out in the Film and Radio lab, work at the off-campus farm, participate in the 100-year old ROTC program, and join the tradition of ringing the campus bell at the start and conclusion of their academic career. 

As one of the Colleges That Change Lives schools, McDaniel is a place where professors and staff know students’ names and are committed to helping them grow. Everyone I met at McDaniel was friendly, collaborative and generous in their spirit of helping others.

5 things I loved about American University

1.  AU Students get a U-Pass for unlimited public transportation all around DC

2. Weekend brunch includes AU logo-shaped waffles

3. Campus is an arboretum with over 130 types of trees

4. Night monumenting is a rite of passage for AU students 

5. The Bridge Coffee Shop on campus was rocking and served up a great matcha latte

Read more about AU below!

Students who are ready to embrace the mission “Challenge Accepted” will find plenty of opportunities at American University. Located in a residential neighborhood, American has a traditional campus feel, but is still just minutes from the action of downtown Washington, D.C., making internships very accessible. AU students have every Wednesday off to coordinate internships, which 91% of AU students take advantage of. 

American has 8,000 undergraduates who come from 50 states and 120+ countries to study in the 6 schools on campus. Students are accepted to the entire university and take a class in each school, including Public Affairs and International Service, the two largest schools on campus, as well as the Kogod School of Business, the School of Education, the School of Communications and the College of Arts and Sciences. 

With an 11:1 student to faculty ratio and an average class size of 23, AU students share their voices in class through intentional dialogue. 60% of AU students study abroad, with Brussels, Madrid and Nairobi as the top three destinations. 

AU offers a few, highly competitive accelerated 3-year programs including Global Scholars, Politics, Policy and Law, and Public Health. International Studies is the largest major on campus, and students can customize their degree in three ways: region, language, thematic. 

Some cool resources available to all AU students include a “Shark Tank” business idea simulator, 3-D printers, 24/7 librarians, music practice rooms and a Game Lab where you can work with master's students to build games.

AU’s new science building opened in 2021, and science profs like to include undergraduates in research. As the first carbon neutral university in the US, AU is committed to sustainability. Students who don’t want to take a hard core science class love the Chemistry of Cooking class, which takes place in AU’s brand new food safety lab. 

There are lots of ways to find your community at AU, whether it’s through the 150+ student clubs, living/learning communities, 16 campus dining options (including a Smoothie shop that turns into a late night Crave Town), Div 1, club and intramural sports, 20 faith groups or Greek life. Plus AU students frequently bond over common causes, attending rallies downtown to show off their school spirit.

5 Things I loved about George Washington University

1. Being able to walk to the White House from campus.

2. The cool GW community spaces, complete with seating, located in the middle of several city blocks. 

3. The fact that the Democrat and Republican Clubs share an office space in the Student Center.

4. The tradition of rubbing George Washington hippo’s nose for good luck before exams.

5. All the delicious dining options around campus. 

Read more about GW below!

George Washington University was founded in 1821 by act of Congress, and the university appeals to “Doers”. Located in Washington DC, GW has two fully functioning campuses, Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon. 

The Foggy Bottom campus extends 20+ city blocks and is located mere blocks from the White House, the World Bank and the Kennedy Center. It is truly an urban campus, located in the heart of DC action! 

The Mount Vernon campus houses ⅓ of freshmen and has a more traditional college campus vibe, complete with green space, athletic fields and special programs, including all living-learning communities. A short shuttle ride connects the two and operates 24 hours a day. 

10,000 undergraduates from all 50 states, plus 130 countries study in one of GW’s 7 schools. GW promotes interdisciplinary learning, and it’s easy to switch schools and major between colleges. GW runs four of their own global study abroad programs located in Chile, England, France and Spain, and ⅓ of the students take advantage of opportunities to study outside the US.  

GW is a Tier 1 research institute, and 90% of students complete an internship. Professors are both researchers and practitioners in the field who are able to connect students to opportunities at National Geographic, NASA, the Smithsonian Museums, Capitol Hill and more. 

With D1 sports, 500+ clubs, Greek life, AND its location in DC, GW students always have plenty to do both on and off campus. There’s a 2-year on campus living requirement for students, 11 freshmen dorms, 4 on-campus dining facilities and blocks and blocks of city eateries to choose from that are part of the meal plan. 

GW’s new engineering building is Gold LEED-certified. A green wall powers the building, which was transformed from a parking garage. GW’s Lisner Auditorium is the second largest performance space in DC, and is a draw for big-name performers and speakers. 

Townhouse row is home to Greek life on campus, which draws 25% of students. There’s a January rush so students have time to acclimate to campus before they decide if they want to go Greek.  

While it might take awhile to get your bearings, as GW is located in a busy, urban center, the “community is worth it,” declared my guide, who said hello to so many fellow students throughout our campus tour!


5 things I loved about University of South Wales, Cardiff Campus

1. The inspirational walls of the Cardiff campus are decorated with posters from movies, TV shows and video games highlighting all of the University of South Wales graduates who contributed to each production, including His Dark Materials, Avengers Infinity Wars, The Lion King, Doctor Who and Grand Theft Auto V. 

2. The Cardiff campus is a collaborative, creative, cutting-edge space where students studying different disciplines all come together to learn skills from each other as well as the industry professionals who flock to Cardiff because it’s a city of culture and entertainment. Courses include: Animation & Games, Design & Communication, Fashion, Film & Visual Effects, Journalism & Media, Music & Sound, Performance and Photography. 

3. Each course-study area has its own hang-out and socialization space at the Cardiff campus, with each floor representing the creative vibe and pulse of the students who meet to collaborate, work, host meetings, network and relax. Each year, students celebrate their work at the USW Creative Graduate Festival showcases.

4. Decked out with industry-standard facilities, film and animation students learn a wide range of skills using the fully equipped HD film studios complete with lighting rigs, green screen and motion capture facilities, a black box studio, Avid HD and Adobe editing suites, Pro Tools sound editing and dubbing suite, and excellent screening facilities.

5. Fashion Design students get to work in new studios that simulate an industry environment with a suite of manufacturing equipment, including industrial sewing machines, specialist machines and steam presses, knitting machines, a variety of dress stands from male, female and children, laser cutting and 3d printing facilities and well as a fully equipped production workshop.

5 Things I Loved About University College Dublin (UCD)

1. UC Dublin’s 330-acre campus is one of Europe’s largest urban campuses. Its location is perfect for students who want to be close to the fun and excitement of Dublin's city center, which is a short 25-minute bus ride away, but prefer to spend most of their time on a more residential, spacious campus with lakes, woodland walks and wildlife. 

2. UCD is Ireland’s most international university, drawing students from over 150+ countries. Of the 35,000 students on campus, more than 9,500 are international. While on campus, international students enjoy hanging out and accessing a wide-range of support services through the Global Lounge, a space devoted to easing the transition to living abroad. After graduation, students benefit from UCD’s alumni network, which is truly global and represents 169 countries. 

3.  Community is essential to life at UCD. UCD celebrates its new students through a scarving ceremony where all students are asked to place matching scarves with the school colors of St Patrick’s sapphire blue, saffron and gold around their necks at the same time. 

4.  UCD’s Drama Society is the most active society on campus, and they stage 30+ productions a year, organize weekly workshops and provide opportunities for students to display their original works. Dramsoc’s homebase is the Theatre in the UCD Student Centre, and boasts a 113 seater rig, two dressing rooms, a large scene dock for set construction and professional lighting and sound system. UCD students also enjoy the larger Dublin theater scene, with multiple performance venues across the city showcasing West End tours and lots of Irish theater. 

5.  Engineering students at UCD enroll in a common first year core of classes, discover how to solve problems, gain exposure to engineering subjects, listen to presentations on various specializations and talk with advisors about which engineering pathway is right for them. Students then specialize in Biomedical, Chemical and Bioprocess, Civil, Electrical or Electronic, Mechanical Engineering, or Structural Engineering with Architecture.

5 things I loved about Cardiff Met

1. A 20-minute walk from City Central, Cardiff Met’s location provides students with easy access to a bustling city life, filled with shopping, expansive parkland, sports and performance venues, and over 2000 years of history, including Roman walls and a castle in the middle of the city. 

2. No matter what draws you to sports– athletics, media, performance analysis, management, coaching, conditioning and therapy, Cardiff Met’s School of Sport and Health Sciences offers students world-leading learning opportunities at their Cyncoed campus.

3. Specialized business management courses include international hotel and hospitality, digital marketing, fashion buying and brand and global business management. Plus, there’s a tasty cafe in the School of Management building that serves global cuisine to hungry students! 

4. 20% of Cardiff Met’s 14,000 students come from 140+ different countries, and receive robust international support from multiple advisors. All Cardiff Met students benefit from small classes and employability modules built into the curriculum. 

5. Cardiff Met earned the top UK award for sustainability in 2022 and the Times Higher Education 2021 University of the Year for UK and Ireland for their progressive values-driven education and excellent student experience.

5 Things I loved about Cardiff University

1. The only Wales member of the distinguished Russell Group, a collection of 24 renowned UK universities, Cardiff University is committed to cutting-edge research. Several top-ranked programs, including Business, Engineering, Computer Science and Bioscience offer work placement years and integrated master degree programs.  

2. At the School of Journalism, Media and Culture, Cardiff University students study in a brand new facility directly next to BBC Wales, a location that helps foster stronger industry links and boost students’ employability. 

3. Cardiff is consistently ranked one of the most affordable cities in the UK, and is small and compact, with only 350,000 people. International students (25% of the population) are guaranteed university housing, and are picked up from Heathrow airport upon arrival into the UK. The university also has an accommodations team run by the Student Union that helps students find apartments across the city. 

4. The brand-new student center reflects Cardiff University’s commitment to creating positive student experiences. The student center has some really cool spaces for hanging out, dining options galore and multiple entertainment venues, all of which are an extension of the fun, city experiences Cardiff offers, including shopping, sports and a concert scene that draws huge names including Beyone, ColdPlay, Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles! 

5. The “Give it a Go” taster series, sponsored by the Cardiff Student Union, clubs and societies encourages students to try a new skill, learn something new or explore an interesting destination, fostering community along the way. Students can also learn a language for free! Cardiff’s Languages for All program offers weekly and crash courses in Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and of course, Welsh! 

5 things I loved about Swansea University

1. With its waterfront location next to 20 miles of the best beaches in Wales, students enjoy an abundance of outdoor recreational activities, and Swansea’s beach volleyball and surfing teams contribute to the chill campus vibe. 

2. Swansea proudly invested £450 million into their new Engineering campus, partnering with companies such as Airbus and Rolls Royce to provide cutting-edge technology and research opportunities for their students. 

3. Varsity Day is huge for Swansea as they compete against Cardiff University in over 30 sports, including men and women’s rugby, which is the second biggest UK rivalry after the Oxford vs. Cambridge match. 

4. The £32.5 million Computational Foundry opened in 2019, equipping Swansea’s math and computer science students with global research, interdisciplinary learning opportunities and focused experience in cyber security, health technologies, and everyday digital connections. 

5. The Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law at Swansea provides students with hands-on learning and the opportunity for joint studies with Swansea’s renowned Criminology course. 

5 Things I loved about University of Roehampton, London

1. Picturesque 55-acre parkland campus complete with lakes, expansive grassy laws, historic buildings and plentiful outdoor seating. 

2. "Growhampton" chickens on campus provide eggs students can buy at the Hive, an on-campus sustainable cafe run by students. Several outdoor community garden spaces and an active Farm Society add to the green vibe on campus. 

3. 28% of students are international, representing over 145 different nationalities. All students have access to robust support structures, and Roehampton’s Student Union is ranked #2 in London for student satisfaction.

4. Plentiful campus accommodations provide single-room living options for students. Guaranteed housing for overseas students creates a residential atmosphere and helps students avoid the high price of living in London.

5. A brand new engineering program will open in 2024, joining Roehampton’s prominent offerings in education, dance, psychology, computer science, business, nursing, liberal arts and more, with several programs offering post-graduate options where students can earn 2 degrees in 4 years. 

5 things I loved about University College London (UCL)

1. As the third oldest university in the UK, University College London has been promoting “Disruptive thinking since 1826,” through its ground-breaking research and world class educational opportunities where students and professors collaborate to tackle global issues. There have been 30 Nobel Prize laureates amongst UCL’s alumni and current and former staff, and UCL is currently ranked 9th in the 2024 QS World University Rankings.

2. UCL is a truly global institution with 48% international students representing 150+ countries. UCL’s Japanese garden is symbolic of the university’s commitment to championing inclusivity and diversity. Situated in a quad outside of UCL’s main library, the garden commemorates the first Japanese students to study abroad, coming to UCL nearly 160 years ago. 

3. UCL has two campuses. The oldest, Bloomsbury, is an enclosed campus in the heart of London that provides students with easy access to the excitement of the city. With five universities in the surrounding neighborhood, the back door entrance to the British Museum and a Waterstones bookstore across the street, students can actively engage with all London has to offer. UCL East is a brand new campus located in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford. It’s an area filled with start-ups, lots of sports and a dynamic arts culture that promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and design for social change. This campus is home to the new Robotics and AI degree where every student gets their own robot. 

4. Lots of UCL students love to play music, and rumor has it that UCL alumni Coldplay refer to their university days in their 2005 track, Fix You, where they sing how the “lights will guide you home.” This a reference to how the band members (and all UCL students) use the iconic BT Tower which lights up the London skyline to find their way back to their campus after nights out on the town. 

5. Christopher Nolan, another famous UCL alum, filmed parts of Inception in the Flaxman Gallery, housed in one of UCL’s 17 different libraries. UCL also has five in-house museums, including the Grant Museum of Zoology, the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and the UCL Art Museum. 

Colleges Visited by AT College Consulting

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