Boasting not only academic excellence and cutting edge research, Silicon Valley’s colleges and universities are hidden gems of dynamic athletic programs, exciting internship opportunities and valuable bridges to the business world.
The Big Decision. It is makes perfect sense to start your high school student’s exploration of college campuses early. The stakes are too high to commit to a college without some hands-on exploration. Prospective students and their families that focus on finding the right academic, financial, co-curricular, cultural and social match are the ones that have a solid and successful college experience. Many students often end up unhappy with their college choice because they made blind decisions. College campus visits accomplish one thing: the right fit between student and school. Force a bad fit and you may have to repeat the process in a year or two. For younger high school students the objective of early campus visits is to create an awareness of the possibilities. For students closer to graduation, this is the final opportunity to check out options before making that major decision.
To make the most out of college visitations, keep these tips in mind:
Book visits in advance and while classes are in session. High school student need to see college campus life in ACTION to best feel of a campus.
Attend an information session. Most colleges make special programs available to answer common questions about admissions, financial aid, and student life. An admissions officer will talk to a group of students and parents providing an overview of the college. Topics include academic programs, extracurricular activities, housing, dining, financial aid and the application process. Granted this maybe not the most exciting part of a campus visit but a great source of vital information.
Take a campus tour. At most colleges, a current student leads a group of prospective students and their families around campus, highlighting major areas and answering questions. For details about information sessions and tours, check out individual college websites; most allow students to register on-line.
Make it personal. Wander off the path and talk to current students: Don’t limit your conversations to the university’s tour guide. Find a student enrolled at the school, especially one who’s studying the major you are interested in and ask questions!
Attend a class if possible. Pre-arrange to sit in on a class in a subject that interests you or that you hope to major in. Arrange a conversation with a professor through the admissions office. Ask professors about their work. What gets them excited about their work? What do they look for in students? How and when do they involve students in their scholarly pursuits?
More ways to engage your prospective campus: Eat in the dining hall and consider spending the night in the dorms if possible. Attend a sporting event and experience the collegiate energy . Get a pass to work out at the fitness center. Read the campus, cafeteria and dorm bulletin boards. Find a copy of the school’s student newspaper and learn about the key issues on campus, upcoming events, and possibly even campus safety. Pay attention to the small things…for they quickly add up in a student’s life away from home.
Take notes: You might think that you will remember what you see and heard during a campus visit, but don’t count on it, especially if you are visiting more than one campus. Take photos and write down your impressions of the campus. It may help you with the “why our school” essay, should you decide to apply. Also keep in mind, the absence of a recorded visit when your application is reviewed may raise questions about the sincerity of your interest. In that case, your application might be relegated to the wait list.
Check out the local area: Spend some time driving or walking around the neighborhood that surrounds campus. Check out everything from restaurants to movie theaters and shopping to local volunteer opportunities. Life beyond the campus boundaries is important also.
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Catholic Jesuit University, is a leading academic institution combined with an excellent athletics program featuring volleyball, soccer and basketball. It provides over 8,000 students with a rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts, sciences, business, and engineering. With the fourth-highest graduation rate among all U.S. Masters’ universities, students are educated with an emphasis on core values including ethics and social justice. Santa Clara University offers smaller class sizes that allow more personal interaction between students and their world renowned faculty. Students are surrounded by more than 6,500 high-tech companies in their Silicon Valley backyard, as well as recognized museums, and much more that inspire research and vision. Santa Clara University is truly a unique collegiate experience by design.
Join a campus tour, for prospective students and their families Mondays through Fridays and select Saturdays.Visits include a ½ hour presentation with an admission counselor covering the application and evaluation process, a ½ hour student panel Q&A format covering topics including living on campus, studying abroad, internships and more, followed by a 1 hour guided campus tour where prospective students and parents can experience the University’s excellence first hand.The tour is led by Student Ambassadors who represent academic majors and minors from a variety of programs at Santa Clara University. Registration is available on-line and is recommended at least two weeks in advance. If you’re unable take a student-led campus tour, a self-guided tour is available. Simply download the campus walking tour onto your iPod, or print self-guided tour.
San Jose State University This superb Northern California university specializes in preparing students for the professional world through internships, academics and hands-on learning. Ranking 10th overall among the West’s top public universities offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees by “America’s Best Colleges” edition of US News and World Report, San Jose State University is both an academically challenging and culturally invigorating campus. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose State University is just minutes away from many of the world’s most highly-regarded businesses. Offering the excitement of studying in a large, metropolitan campus where many cultures meet, students will still find personal attention from faculty members in the smaller settings of the university’s seven colleges.
Campus Tours take place Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Visit the Campus Tour Registration site to register online for a tour.Housing Tours, School of Engineering Tours, School of Theater and Dance tours as well as Self-Guided Walking Tours (PDF) and Maps are also available for families and groups that are unable attend a scheduled tour.
A world renowned academic and private research institution, Stanford University is host to one of the most prestigious faculties and and academic programs in our nation. Opened by Leland Stanford in 1891, Stanford is now home to the prominent Lucile Packard Stanford Children’s Hospital, a host of superb athletics including basketball, volleyball, football, baseball and more. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Peace Prize, including 19 faculty members currently on staff.
In true California style, quite a variety of Standford University campus tours are available.
Campus Walking Tour Spend an hour with a student guide exploring the highlights of Stanford’s beautiful campus. A great introduction for first-time visitors to view the highlights of the campus and learn about academic programs, residential life, and extra-curricular activities. Free, 70 minutes in duration, 7 days a week, reservations not required for parties of 9 or fewer. Please see their on-line calendar for specific dates.
Discover Stanford A two-part program designed to explore the programs, places, and people that define Stanford’s commitment to undergraduate education within the setting of a world-class university. Reservations available on-line. This opportunity includes a one-hour information session highlighting Stanford’s admission process and commitment to financial aid. Followed by the Campus Walking Tour. Free, and times vary depending on the season. See on-line calendar for exact dates and times. Reservations are required and must be made well in advance.
Science and Engineering Quad Tour Explore Stanford’s state-of-the-art Science and Engineering Quad with an enthusiastic student guide. Highlights of this tour cover the Science and Engineering Quad, including: Hewlett and Packard Buildings, Huang Engineering Center and the Y2E2 Building. Reservations required and sessions fill quickly. Duration 1 hour, free, See on-line calendar for full details.
Golf Cart Tour With Stanford’s 8,180 acres, it’s impossible to see all the highlights of the amazing campus in one hour. The Golf Cart Tour includes many hidden gems not included on other tours such as the Main Quad, Memorial Church, and the science and engineering buildings, as well as the Red Barn, where Leland Stanford bred and trained prize-winning horses, The Cantor Arts Center and the Athletic facilities. Duration 1 hour, Cost $5.00 per person. Online reservations are required and two weeks advance notice is recommended. See online calendar for full date details.
Self-Guided Tours: Explore the campus at your own pace. Download tours and learn more about Stanford’s rich history, distinctive architecture, and notable landmarks.
The Art Institute of California, located in Silicon Valley’s Sunnyvale, provides education in design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts. Established in 2008, The Art Institute of California – Silicon Valley is a branch of California Design College accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.
Palo Alto University is a not-for-profit free-standing educational institution in Palo Alto, California (previously the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology). It offers two undergraduate degree programs: BS in Psychology and Social Action and BS in Business Psychology, as well as six graduate programs. One of the unusual elements of Palo Alto University’s campus is its interconnected relationship with Stanford University and School of Medicine. They often employ their students in Stanford research laboratories and house prominent faculty members who teach at both institutions.
Cogswell Polytechnical College is a private college located in Sunnyvale, California. Accredited through Western Association of Schools and Colleges, it a relatively small student body of approximately 250 students. Programs at Cogswell range from Digital Media to Engineering and the newly founded Entrepreneurship program. Cogswell is featuring an Open House February 23, 2013 10am to 1pm, where prospective students will have an opportunity to learn more about their Animation, Game Design, Audio Production, Audio Engineering, Game Audio, Digital Arts Engineering, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering or Entrepreneurship & Innovation bachelor degree programs. It is a chance to tour the campus, visit with students, watch award-winning short animations, talk to an Admissions Representative and get those Financial Aid questions answered.
Whether you are traveling with the whole family or traveling alone your student, Silicon Valley’s The Biltmore Hotel & Suites in Santa Clara offers the ideal home base for Silicon Valley campus exploration. Take advantage of Spring Break timing and jump into the collegiate experience with your prospective college student. Call 800-255-9925 and ask for our Best Available weekend rates starting at $89 (based on availability) and consider taking in a few of Silicon Valley’s local attractions too…make it a Spring Break to remember!