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Spring Break: Visiting Colleges, Playing Tourist

Ellen Levitt

Posted on April 26, 2019 18:10

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My family and I joined thousands of other American families during spring break, and visited colleges for the benefit of our teenagers.

My younger daughter and I, along with a close friend of mine and her daughter, made a three-day spring break trip to New England. The main purpose was to attend college campus tours. Our daughters, pals since they were babies, are interested in schools that have strong visual arts programs. So I drove the four of us to Providence, Rhode Island and Boston-Cambridge, Massachusetts, to visit three acclaimed schools.

We were not the only families to spend part of our vacations on the road, looking into the vast field of undergraduate programs in the United States. Our friend Doug took his daughter to Washington, D.C., to see schools there; an acquaintance of mine took his son to visit a New Hampshire school (I'd never before heard of St. Anselm College). Colleges welcome us potential applicant families with tours and swag, in order to persuade us to have our kids apply, and perhaps even attend their institutions.

College is a Big Business. Might as well be frank about it.

First we visited the Rhode Island School of Design, located in Providence and next door to Brown University. We were all impressed by the facilities of RISD, and the campus is pretty. We dodged rain constantly, which put a damper on my enthusiasm, but the girls did like the school's offerings. After the tour we drove around a while and admired the architecture of downtown Providence.

The next day we drove to Boston and quickly became immersed in a city of colleges. MassArt, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, was quite nice (although I didn't like having to use a parking garage and compete for space with all those Red Sox fans) and my daughter liked what she saw. But it was a bit intimidating, because it's surrounded by several other colleges such as Northeastern University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, New England Conservatory of Music, Berklee, and other schools. 

Then we drove to Cambridge and around the Harvard campus. I felt... small. Insignificant. Even if briefly, this extensive campus is like nothing I have ever yet seen, and it's...Harvard. THE Harvard. Capital H. 

We didn't go on a campus tour.

This was my first time in Boston, believe it or not. A bit embarrassing for me, the history teacher, so I felt I had to cram in some culture. We sought out Paul Revere's House, the Back Bay Fens, and other famous sites, and the next morning my daughter and I strolled around Boston Common and the lovely Public Garden, while my friend and her daughter visited Boston University. We also had a funny incident with seven stubborn wild turkeys on a local street near our motel.

And then we drove home to Brooklyn. I did all the driving.

It's interesting to see colleges around the country. It's a treat to travel with family and friends (and we all had fun). But it's also sobering to keep in mind that college is undoubtedly a Big Business.

 

 

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on April 26, 2019 18:10

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Providence, RI (WPRI) - The Providence College men's and women's basketball team hosted a free basketball clinic at Corliss...

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