Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My future colleges

After another long day of class, Mrs. Lilhanand took the group and I down to NYU, where we got to see a different type of campus setting. NYU, unlike traditional colleges such as Columbia or most four-year colleges, is set deep within an urban setting, making the school have a lack of campus. Aside from that, I thought the college was beautiful. A typical NYU building could be spotted from anywhere -- its buildings are gorgeous. These brick buildings that tower along with the rest of the New York skyline radiate a distinct, beautiful color that attracts my eyes so much. Aside from the aesthetics, the campus is located in the heart of downtown New York -- a perfect setting for me, yet at the same time, a setback to the college. Although I do love its location, I'm not sure if I would give up the atmosphere of a traditional campus for an urban setting. Colleges like Columbia and UCLA seem to get the best of both worlds; both of them hold a small campus yet are close to all the hustle of a big city.

Yesterday, Mrs. Lilhanand also stressed the importance of deciding which types of colleges would fit our personalities, and had us create a list of our top five colleges. As of now, mine stand as such:

1. University of California, Los Angeles: This college has been in my heart ever since I've visited it. The location is perfect: it's inside of the biggest city -- also one of my favorites -- in California. Los Angeles is only a six hour drive back home; visiting friends and family would be painless. It's also near Santa Monica Pier, which excites me every time I think of going to a college close to a beach, especially since a beach similar to Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, is quite far from Pinole. Other than that, I'm really starting to like small, enclosed campuses; the buildings are more accessible this way. 

2. Columbia University: This school has really made a lasting impression on me. During my past week and a half, I've fallen in love with both the school and the city in which it resides. I now feel the need to experience my college endeavors within an urban campus, and Columbia fulfills my necessity. Aside from that, Columbia is known for its incredible academic programs. It is an Ivy League School.

3. New York University: Like I've said before, New York City has made a lasting impression on me. I could really see myself spending the next four years of my life in such a vivacious city. Although the school lacks a traditional campus, their scattered buildings would allow me to venture throughout downtown New York, truly giving me the sense of living in  a city.

4. University of California, Berkeley: This school's the best public college in the United States -- and it's only ten minutes away from Pinole. It would be wrong to ignore such a fine institution in such a relative location. This is a great plus, as many of my friends have planned to attend college in the Bay Area. Going to school in the Bay Area would also be great, as I do have a lot of love for the rich diversity it has to offer. My only concern is that the college may be a little too close to home; my parents have been nagging me to attend UC Berkeley so that I could live at home and save them a tremendous amount of money. I really do not want to have to struggle for my freedom.

5. Dominican University: Nestled within the San Rafael county, this college campus fails to fit my criteria of an urban campus -- but that's okay. Dominican is only a few minute's drive from the wonderful San Francisco, and a little bit longer going back home to Pinole. The campus is still located in the Bay Area, which, as I've said earlier, is satisfactory. My main interests in the school are its nursing program and the amount of money it gives to students as a merit scholarship. While I'm not completely sure, nursing is something that I may want to enter as my profession; it combines two things that I show interest: socializing with and helping people, and health science. Aside from this, Dominican hands scholarships to students based on merit. A friend of mine who plans on attending Dominican for the Fall 2009 semester said that they gave her about $13,000-15,000 scholarship for maintaing an GPA of about 3.7; weighted, my GPA amounts to about 4.2. Just think of all the money I could earn!

1 comment:

Don Gosney said...


Your description of NYU’s lack of a campus is becoming the norm for newer universities and colleges. Many are now just rooms within a skyscraper. There isn’t as much room as there was 150 years ago and the startup costs for a new campus would be staggering.

In the long run, though, isn’t the real education what’s being taught inside the classroom and not where the classroom is located? I’m sure that schools like NYU would like you to see it that way.. Then again, some of the older rural campuses sure look nice—like what you’d expect an old college to look like.

You know, Gabe, ever since I met you I’ve liked you and as I’ve read your blogs I’ve developed a healthy respect for you—all the way until I read that UCAL was #1 on your list. All I have to say is: “Are you out of your mind?” [It’s 1:21 in the AM and I can only imagine that Mr. Ramsey has settled into a very troubled sleep knowing that I’ve bad mouthed his alma mater once again.]

Being a Golden Bear I can speak about both Cal and UCLA when I advise you to look very closely at both schools to see if the very large class sizes are really what you want. As an underclassman—especially in freshman and sophomore science and math classes, your lectures can be so large (up to 1,000) that you will NEVER meet your professor. That’s not the case at most of your smaller private colleges.

And this concept your folks have about how convenient it would be for you to live at home and commute in to Cal? Try it sometime when classes are in session. Try taking public transportation and try driving yourself and see just how much of your day can be tied up commuting. Berkeley may be just 10 minutes away from Pinole but Cal is another 20 minutes from the freeway. And there’s NO parking available within 20 miles of campus. Taking BART in is a nice option but parking at the two El Cerrito BART stations is a bear and at the Richmond station it can be chancy on finding your car there when you return. Take a few trial runs and you may see that it’s not as easy as your parents may think. Rather than doing this on your own, Gabe, have them accompany you so they can see first hand how much fun it can be.

Living near or on campus makes a HUGE difference in your ability to maximize your educational experience. Ask yourself what you might be able to do with that extra three hours a day you might spend on the commute. Whether you live in a dorm or in an apartment (with maybe a dozen roommates) the cost isn’t all that bad if you compare it to the cost of commuting.

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