#collegetouracrossthenation Day Two & Three

Note: Written on November 25th. Published on November 27th. 

Sorry I am so behind on continuing this #collegetouracrossthenation series! I truly have been super busy on this trip and haven’t really had a moment to sit down and just write. I am currently at the airport in New York about to fly home! Hopefully I will be able to rewind back a few days and recall the details of the different schools I visited.

Day Two: Brown University (Saturday, Nov. 19)

I think I’ve said this about every school so far (and I will continue to say this), but Brown was perfect. It was just beautiful and so me. All of the buildings were so pretty, but not as historic-feeling as Harvard.

My favorite thing about Brown is the freedom you are given there. Brown has two grading systems: a pass/no record scale (like for freshmen at MIT) and a traditional alphabetical scale. The best part: you get to choose which way you want to be graded in each class! With that being said, I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to only do pass/no record for all of your classes. But having the option there grants you the ability to take classes that you’re just interested in and want to learn about without the pressures of receiving a grade or classes in areas you’re not skilled in but want to experiment with. This is what I loved most about Brown: the students there are there because they want to learn. They are there because they want to learn, not because they have to learn or want to be the best in the nation.

As a freshman at Brown, there are no required courses you have to take. No Writing 101 or Introduction to ___. You are free to begin the path towards your major or just take random classes in every area to figure out which direction you want to go! Brown cultivates expression and individuality. Learning this is what made me feel like I really fit in at Brown. Brown is a place where I can go to figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life.

More importantly, however, I visited a café at Brown that had really good muffins. Like really, really good muffins. I was really sold then.

Me, happy after eating my muffin

Brown is also only an $11 train ride away from Boston. I took the train from Boston to Providence, RI and it was just around an hour. My tour guide said he goes into Boston all the time just for fun.

Like Harvard, Brown seemed to really care about collaboration and community. Freshman year, you are assigned to a dorm. For the rest of your years at Brown, you are able to choose  which dorm you would like to live in. You can choose to live in a single room or with your friends in a suite or apartment. There are even different types of houses, such as the Art House, Interfaith House, Tech House, language and cultural housing, and Greek life. Students at Brown can also choose to live in gender-neutral housing, which is popular among LGBTQ students. The fact that Brown’s housing even encourages expression and is so personalized is what makes Brown such an awesome school for the creative, artsy type of student.

Day Three: Yale University (Sunday, Nov. 20)

The day I visited Yale, there were no admissions tours being offered, so I went on a more general tour that allowed me to preview the campus and learn a little bit about the history of Yale. Honestly, though, I didn’t even need to hear about the academics, housing, and other typical admissions information to know Yale was amazing.

Yale was by far the prettiest school I looked at (it even surpassed Harvard!). I went on a cloudy, gloomy day, which made the brown and gray buildings look even more beautiful and mysterious. The Harkness Tower and the Beinecke Library, well-known pieces of architecture at Yale, were just amazing sights to see.

Yale has 12 residential colleges and 2 more are currently being built, which means that more students will be accepted to Yale (major yeet). As I was told by my tour guide, each residential college is sort of like a house at Hogwarts. The residential colleges become their own communities and even host competitions between each other. Each residential college tends to think that they are the best. Honestly, the entire Yale experience reminded me of attending Hogwarts.

What’s great about Yale is that New York City is just a train ride away. In fact, I took the train from New Haven, Connecticut to Grand Central Station in New York City and it was a very easy ride. There’s plenty to do in New Haven, but NYC is close by in case you need to get out for the weekend.

On the same street as Yale was an Urban Outfitters and an American Apparel right next to it. So that’s a yes.

Like I said, I didn’t learn anything really about the academics at Yale, but did I really need to? Yale is an Ivy League school and definitely one of the best schools in the country, perhaps the world, so we can all imagine that their academics are great. Also, I’ve been to so many of these college visits…after a while, the whole academics part starts to sound the same.

With that being said, the academics at most of the schools I am considering are pretty similar. Therefore, the choice (if I even get a choice…probably not getting into more than one of these schools if I get into any)  will have to be based on student life and how I like the surrounding areas. Providence and New Haven are both great places to live, with access to major cities, like NYC and Boston. The students at these schools are expressive, individual, creative, and artsy, which is the kind of student I feel that I can relate most to. I think I would fit in really well at either of these schools! Now they just have to let me in…please? 🙂

Brooke Shapiro

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