Tuesday, October 23, 2012

CORT Tour - Day 3

The last day of the CORT tour brought us to University of Rochester. This was probably the school I was most familiar with prior to the tour since six students from ElRo have enrolled there since 2010. Sadly, it was raining all day in Rochester, but as I always say that is actually ideal college viewing weather because if you love a school in the rain, you know you really love it ;). This campus is another with tunnels and we got to see those first hand in order to stay dry today - they sure come in handy! My favorite part of the University of Rochester is that they are willing and able to meet full demonstrated need for admitted students -- translation: generous financial aid for those that can't pay the tuition in full. But the funding isn't the only appeal at this school. With about 5,000 students Rochester is a research university with a smaller college feel. They also offer two unique '5th year' options to allow students to stay tuition free to continue their studies (in something they are not majoring in). Their graduate programs also mean combined admission for highly qualified applicants (aka - being pre-admitted to med school in high school). They strongly encourage interviews and are going test flexible this year. Test flexible means that you can submit your own personalized blend of testing - not just the SAT or ACT, but things like Subject Tests and APs. According to their office of admission, hidden gem majors include: optics, brain and cognitive science, linguistics, and audio music engineering. Our tour guide described the student body on campus as supportive and collaborative, giving the example of a time she was working in a study lounge trying to work out a physics equation on a white board. She left to go downstairs to get a snack and when she came back another student had solved the equation for her anonymously. Wouldn't happen at every school, I can promise you that.

After the tour was over, I got a very lucky opportunity to also quickly get a ride over to SUNY Brockport. Prior to visiting, the main thing I knew about Brockport was that they were a SUNY that gave merit aid. But after seeing it in person, I think it can offer a lot more than just that. A campus of about 7,000, Brockport is only about 30 minutes from Rochester. The campus felt really cohesive and probably ties with RIT as the campus with the most students buzzing about, many of whom were sporting Brockport gear. We got to go inside the new Special Event Recreation Center (pictured above) that just opened a few months ago. All I can say is: what economic collapse? Brockport is renovating and expanding, mostly due to a savvy board of directors and administration. Popular programs at Brockport include things like athletic training and education. There is also an active ROTC program on campus. One of my favorite parts is that the town of Brockport butts right up to campus and the quaint main street has a "no chain stores allowed" policy. For someone looking at SUNY colleges that isn't interested in being at a large university center, this one is definitely worth looking at.

It was a great opportunity to see the schools in the Rochester area. New York City students are lucky to have so many amazing choices in their home state. My only regret is that I still only got to see Wegman's through the window of a bus, but maybe next time.