Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Rain Will WashU Away

I must have been exhausted yesterday, because I slept like a rock. Of course, the comfortable hotel blankets were also to blame, along with the eight pillows that the hotel provided. But it was good that I slept, because we had another busy day today.

The morning was pretty straightforward. Brandon and I woke up at 8 AM, and ate breakfast in the hotel. After a couple of hours of doing mostly nothing, our cohort met in the lobby, stored our luggage, and headed to the Washington University to tour the campus. 

We walked around in the rain a lot today.
We arrived early, so we checked in at the admissions office. They had several free brochures on the university, so I took the opportunity to snag a few and update my knowledge on WashU. Soon after, the tour started. There were around 30 people in total there to take the tour, so the guides split the group into two. Our guide, a rising sophomore named Evan, was very cheerful. I liked his tour, since it was very comprehensive, but didn’t seem memorized or forced. However, the large amount of rain there was today threatened to drown out his voice (Get it? Drown? Rain?

A huge amount of information was covered in the tour, and even with a good amount of sleep it was a challenge to absorb it all. One important thing Evan talked about was the study abroad program. At WashU, anyone can study abroad, and there are numerous locations on every continent (except Antarctica - Antarctica never gets any love.). It doesn’t seem like many of the colleges that most of the students in the Bay Area end up attending have such extensive study abroad programs. This seems tempting to me, since I love traveling to new places and exploring their cultures and sights. On the tour, we also got a look at the elusive, top-rated dorms that I couldn’t find pictures of anywhere on the internet. They were as spacious as I had heard, and I sat on the extremely comfortable mattress as Evan explained the residential system. Students could submit their dorm preferences, such as how many people they wanted to live with, and the type of dorm they wanted to live in, and the university would try to satisfy everyone’s preferences. According to our guide, the university was usually found a way to accommodate nearly everyone. The tour was very informative, but was mostly about student life and the various buildings and facilities rather than academics. The information session we attended later covered more of that.
The large green lawns on campus were quite refreshing.
Lunch was just a quick meal at an on-campus cafeteria; since we were visitors at the school, we received eight dollars’ worth of meal points. The food was only decent, and yet they charged exorbitant prices for it. I hope that the other cafeterias aren’t as expensive; otherwise if I attend this school I’ll have to make sure I have a constant supply of instant ramen.

The information session spawned even more facts for me to try to remember. I had trouble remembering everything, but ultimately this session helped me get a more complete picture of academics and life in general at WashU. The main speaker was Amanda Garcia, an admissions officer, and Dana Robertson, a rising senior at the school who we actually met last night at the dinner! Again, the info session covered a variety of topics. I paid close attention to their admission decision factors, which were: your transcript, two recommendation letters, your extracurriculars, your essay, and your standardized test scores. The session also covered other facts to consider when applying that I won't get into. Also, the speakers continuously reemphasized that the school payed close attention to your needs, giving you several advisors to guide you the entire four years. After listening to the speakers talk, it almost felt like I was applying to this school very soon. But I still have another year before I need to start worrying about applications.
This picture can't capture how big the arch was.

After the info session and a very brief tour of a nearby art museum, we grabbed our luggage from the hotel, and called a taxi. Since our flight was delayed, we ended up taking a little detour just to see the iconic Gateway Arch. We took a few photos, but had to leave quickly for the airport.

Major flight delays, weather, and a fantastic dinner all made sure that we didn't get to our hotel, the Omni, until nearly 12:30 in the morning. So I'll just wrap this up quickly by saying that I was very impressed with Washington University in St. Louis. I'm planning on majoring in engineering, but if I have a change of heart, I will definitely make sure to apply here, since I just love how the university looks out for its students. Anyways, I'm looking forward to visiting Northwestern University, the next school on our list, tomorrow!

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