Thursday, June 23, 2011

Northwestern presents "The Color Purple"

With the alarm ringing at 6 AM, we all got prepared to head back onto the “L” for a very long train ride. Today, we traveled all the way to Evanston, a quaint college town on the border of Chicago, to take part of a college visit tour at Northwestern University.

The school is one of the most heavily funded research universities in the nation, so I was quite intrigued as to what all the fuss is about. As we entered the admission office, we met Aaron Zdawczyk , the Associate Director of Admission. He gave us a brief introduction and we were off to explore and discover the school. We learned a lot about the school, including their unique Quarter System. Instead of splitting the school’s time periods into semesters, they are split into four quarters that allow students to take up to twelve classes in a year. I also discovered that the university is split into six different schools that focus on specific fields like Communications, Journalism, and Engineering.

The English building at NU.

For the actual tour, we all split up into groups as five tour guides were accessible to us. Terilyn, Taylor, Jobel, and I chose to go with Andrew, a rising Junior who is an executive on the school’s fraternity board. We explored campus as he explained almost every building as we passed by them. We even entered the Engineering building and actually walked through the halls and classrooms. He went into details about instances of school culture including a 30-hour dance marathon and a tradition which they refer to as the “Rock.” The Rock, which has spawned from a broken water fountain, is a local landmark for students. Many students get hands-on involvement with the Rock by painting on it. However, to do this, they are required by the school to guard the Rock for 24 hours.

The famous Rock.

After the tour, we ate out in college town and then took the L train back to the hotel. With a few hours of break prior to our dinner with Aaron at Spaggia’s, we ventured out to the beach across the street. Once we concluded our small excursion, we all got ready to fill our minds and stomachs.

Aaron Zdawczyk delightfully answered our questions and helped clarify many things regarding Northwestern during our dinner. I brought up how I was always skeptical with the university system and how I was always under the assumption that it was "the name you were paying for." He brought up some really insightful info including how a community college wouldn’t give you the same support a student from a university would normally receive. I also asked how much the Communications school is well-connected with Journalism considering the fact that there is a dedicated Journalism program. Northwestern has tons of flexibility when it comes to class and majors and Aaron certainly brought that up. He also brought up that picking either Communications or Journalism will depend on what the endpoint of your career will be like.

An amazing dinner and conversation was taking place at Spaggia's.

Today has truly made me reconsider that going to a university, especially with all of these resources available to prospecting and existing students, is a decision worth thinking over again. Although I still have some drawn out skepticism, this first-ever college visit has certainly set the by high as we explore the University of Chicago tomorrow.

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