Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Yesterday, I went on the last of my college tours, this one to Chapman University in Orange County.  My initial motive for seeing this school was so that I could see my boyfriend again, but Chapman actually turned out to be very interesting.  I bought a shirt, so that means that I am going to apply!  Located in Orange county, the campus was beautiful and sunny.  The architecture reminded me of Pomona's, but without the starkness that I felt when I was there.  Chapman's 'inter-term' and different travel study options give a lot of good opportunities, and they have the type of medical program that I am looking at.  This is also the first time that one of the academic counselors has talked to me in depth about the pros and cons of living off campus, which interested me because Chapman is the only school that I am looking at where most of the students live off campus in the surrounding area.
Wrapping up this trip made me evaluate all of the colleges that I have visited so far. I came to the conclusion that I have a fairly solid five colleges that I want to apply to.  They have three tiers: my 1/2 tier is Pepperdine and Point Loma, which are interchangeable as my top choice; my 3/4 tier is USD and Chapman, which I would both be very happy to go to, but are slightly below the other two; then there is my "safety school", which doesn't mean that it's a school that I don't want to go, but that it is "safe" in almost every way. Saint Martin's is an hour from my house, familiar, small and Christian, and I have two friends that go there already. 
I would be happy to go to any of these schools, and I think that is important for my college list. I may still try to apply to an ivy or  two just to see what happens, but all of these 5 schools are places that I can see myself having a great college experience in. Now all that is left is to apply and choose! Haha, 'all'...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


The second campus that I visited on Monday was Seaver College at Pepperdine University.  I have wanted to go see the campus of Pepperdine for quite a while now, what with it being on a cliff overlooking the Pacific in Malibu.  I remember the first card that I ever got from Pepperdine sophomore year.  The post card said "You could be here right now" with a picture of the campus.  Living in rainy Washington, I really wished that I could be there.  I found that the pictures could not capture how beautiful the campus really is.
Aside from the picturesque location of the campus, I found that I very much liked the school itself.  The man who gave my information session was funny and engaging, full of personal stories from his time at Pepperdine that made me say "I want to have moments like those".  He shared how Pepperdine's study abroad program is almost unique in the fact that students can choose to spend a full year abroad at a Pepperdine mini campus in locations such as London, Florence, Germany, and other countries.  Aside from the stories, I found that Pepperdine gives a lot of opportunities that really interest me.  Going through their science building, I found the labs fascinating.  There were many labs, each of them equipped with nice, modern equipment, but they were also relatively small.  Science students get the chance to work one on one with their professor to actually do their own research in these cozy labs.
Their medical program was very much like the one offered at Point Loma, which means that it is exactly the type of program that I want to be in.  Pepperdine allows students to enroll in the program and participate in all of the pre-medicine opportunities that a pre-med major would receive, but also to major in whatever subject that they wanted.  I also loved that they were very unabashed about their Christianity.  The suit-style living all four years wasn't too bad either.  All in all, I found that Pepperdine ties for first with Point Loma, followed by USD and Saint Martin's.  My last college trip to Chapman University might make my list an even five!


So, I had a very busy college day on Monday.  So busy, in fact, that I am giving it two blog posts!  That's right, you might have to read more! Muwahahahaha.  Well, I think that I am stalling because it was pretty hard to formulate my opinion of Pomona.  In contrast to the last school that I visited, I went into my information session and tour of Pomona with an extremely high expectation of falling in love with Pomona. When I asked my best friend which college she had loved most just by the visit, she responded with a "Pomona!!!!!!!!!!!". I'm actually fairly certain that I used the exact number of exclamation marks that she did.  Needless to say, I took her response to heart and went in wanting to be amazed.  I'm not sure if my reaction was a result of having too high of an idealistic standard, or just that I don't like the same type of schools that she does.
One thing that I really loved about Pomona was the surrounding area.  Before heading into our 9am tour, my family went to grab a bite at the Starbucks a few blocks away from campus.  In addition to being nice and green, the street was lined with cute shops and galleries for local artists.  The unfortunate part of the nice and green campus was that I was allergic to something green and not-so-nice.  I was sneezing and eye-watering the entire tour, but I tried to put that out of my reaction to the college.  I hope it worked.
The biggest thing that I didn't like about Pomona was something that I didn't realize how much I valued - a Christian environment.  When beginning my college search, going to a Christian college was not a very big deal to me, or so I thought.  Now I realize that having a Christian community completely changes how I view a college.  I started wondering how comfortable I would really feel at a very secular, liberal college.  I want to major in science and become a pediatrician, so that is going to mean lots and lots of things like biology and chemistry.  Being a Christian student at a secular college majoring in biology will mean either hiding a lot of the conflicts that my beliefs will have with what they want me to say, or constantly butting heads with both other students and professors.
I thought that Pomona was a great school, but maybe not the one for me.  Taking the tour and information session taught me a lot about what I am looking for, but I don't think that it's Pomona.  I hope that my best friend doesn't hate me for this, but I thank her a lot for pushing me to tour at Pomona.  It has taught me a lot about myself and the place I want to be for the next four years of my life.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Point Loma Nazarene

Today I embarked on my second college tour of my summer vacation, this time to Point Loma Nazarene. When I was first listing out which colleges that I wanted to visit, Point Loma wasn't even really on my list.  It was in the back of my mind mainly because they had accidentally sent me about twelve postcards asking me to visit them.  My mom urged me to put them on my list, so I agreed, knowing that I would at least be spending my time in a beautiful place. When I set up the visit with my dad, there was a checklist of what I wanted to attend.  I dutifully checked off the "tour" and "information session" boxes before asking my dad if he wanted me to meet with my admissions councilor.  When he said yes I rather dubiously checked that box as well, wondering if it would be weird to meet with the councilor if I wasn't even seriously considering the school.
When we arrived at the campus, I immediately remembered how beautiful it really was (I had driven through the campus once without being set up for an official tour).  When I started learning more about different aspects of their academics and feeling the atmosphere, I realized that I was beginning to become very interested in this school.  Spoiler alert, I am probably going to apply now that I have gone through the tour and the information sessions!  Since I am trying to get myself back into writing regular blogs, I thought that I would share what type of information and atmosphere could so turn my head when considering a college.
First, the academic options and opportunities. From the time that I was in the first grade, I have wanted to be a pediatrician.  That choice came from knowing, even as a child myself, that I wanted to work with children and I wanted to do something that I felt would be challenging and would change lives around me.  I know now that there are many careers and ways that one can accomplish these things, but healing people is the one that has held a special interest for me for over ten years now.  Though I know that I want to go into medicine, I don't want to actually major in pre-med.  I want to have a degree in a hard science so that if anything were to happen and delay my ability to go to medical school, I would be able to have a degree with which to get a job.  Pre-med is mostly good for getting into medical school, while I could get a better job with a chem or bio-chem degree.
This being said, I was extremely interested to hear about Point Loma's medical and nursing programs.  Very well known in the area, these provide great internships, networking, and opportunities for their students. Even more interesting was finding out that you did not have to be pre-med or pre-nursing to be in these programs; in fact, there was no such option at Point Loma.  Once one qualifies for the pre-med program, they can major in whatever they want, even if it isn't a science.  Point Loma also has a number of great scholarships even at the freshman level for students wanting to major in bio-chem.  
Though this was one of the academic interests that piqued my interest, a big part of changing my mind about Point Loma was the school's atmosphere.  Unlike many schools, they were unabashedly Christian.  Many Christian schools will say something along the lines of "So, we're a Christian school but... Don't worry about that! Look over here!", whereas Christianity seemed to permeate every aspect of Point Loma.  Even though they are of a Wesleyan tradition that differs theologically from mine, I like their honesty about their faith. Even aside from the Christian atmosphere, I just felt a 'vibe' of a close-knit, lade back sort of school that reminded me of a much larger Mount Rainier.  It also helps that Point Loma is literally on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  So, as I go forward in my college search, I now have Point Loma as a top contender!

University of San Diego

Ah, vacation, the most relaxing time of the year where you don't have to get anything done, right? Wrong. This being the summer before my senior year, I have a lot of things that I need/want to get done, though I have picked what I believe to be the best place in the world to do them - San Diego.  A midst the sun bathing, shopping, body surfing, and just plain chilling out, I have decided that I am going to get my college applications done this summer.  This means that I need to really get a feel for the colleges that have already made it to my short list.  Luckily for me, almost all of these colleges are striking distance from where I am staying with my grandparents, so I am going to visit the California ones this summer!
Today I decided to start out with the very first college that I ever toured - The University of San Diego.  I remember being awed and intimidated by my first taste of a college campus, but I was also sure that I had idealized the experience in my mind.  I was right.  Though I still adored the beautiful architecture and vibe that I got from the campus, I didn't feel like this was the only college in the world that would do for me.  I think that my reaction was a good one for what I need to get done this summer.  Now, rather than comparing every college I go to up against the larger than life version of USD, I'll be comparing everything evenly.
This is not to say that I no longer like USD or plan not to apply anymore; on the contrary, it is still one of my top choices! I am just not letting it take the unfair advantage of being the only one of my California schools that I have been able to tour the campus of so far.
So, what I like and don't like about USD at first glance.  I love the location and campus.  Down below will be a collage of pictures that I snapped while on my tour, but nothing compares to actually being there.  It is on a hill in sunny San Diego, able to see the fireworks from Sea World at night, and always the perfect weather.  It is also a good school both academically and in it's atmosphere.  The University of San Diego is an independent Catholic college that is still grounded to it's Christian roots, which is a major plus for me.  Though a religious school is not a must have for me, it's still something that makes me feel more comfortable and at home when I visit those colleges.  It's the feeling that I know that I will have some people around me and part of the larger church who will love me as a sister in Christ.  USD also does many service projects, mission trips, and studies abroad that can make almost any high school student dizzy in contemplating.
All together, I realize that I was right to have loved this school right off the bat, but I was also right to come back to it with some more mature eyes.  I think that this summer will be a blast, and I hope that finding the right colleges will be a part of that!