Tuesday, March 29, 2011
8 colleges in 5 days, starting in Ithaca New York. I check the weather as we leave Manhattan, and then don't pay attention to the results, thinking it can't really be 28 degrees in late March. Sebastian refuses to take even a sweatshirt claiming he does not get cold.
Monday morning and we were at Cornell. It’s 18 degrees outside and all I had was a thick sweatshirt. “Don’t worry Mom, just wear layers”. 3 t-shirts, a sweater and the sweatshirt later and he's right, except for my ears. Wow. Biting cold.
Cornell is a beautiful campus in brilliant sunshine. The whole group of parents and teenagers (in varying degrees of enthusiasm) walked briskly between elegant and inelegant 19th century buildings and I was impressed that Cornell took in women 100 years before their Ivy League peers. A good sign in my mind. But it is clearly hard to get in, and it’s a large school which is a new concept for Sebastian.
But Monday was as much about sight seeing as it was about colleges. 2 hours to drive to Clinton NY to see Hamilton College. There is no freeway for the Ithaca-Clinton route, it’s all back country roads between farms and we lost count of the abandoned large Victorian houses on the way. Ghostly and sad to see the skeletons of what was great affluence, now abandoned.
Hamilton was just as cold and windier. But the tour guide in this case was not interested in showing off any academics – the tour was all about sports, food and social life so we were in the warm. We saw only one classroom. Hamilton is smaller than Cornell, has a new water polo team, and certainly sounds more fun if you are 17.
Our 4.5 hour drive across upstate New York, across Vermont and into New Hampshire created plenty of opportunity for discussion about the merits of one school vs. another.It must be hard to be trying to chose a school when both your parents went to Cambridge - in a different time when I am sure it was easier to get in but even so sets the bar very high. Good thing he's a hard headed kid who is going to find his own way with or without my help.
Next stop Hanover New Hampshire. Current temperature 15 degrees as I dress this morning...