Thursday, July 9, 2015

Nourishing Northwestern

This morning I woke up at 9 AM and ate a pancake breakfast in the Omni hotel. By around 11:30 we were off to our site visit at Northwestern University. I actually didn't know Northwestern wasn't in Chicago, but rather 12 miles north in Evanston, Illinois.

Today we didn't have the luxury of a taxi or shuttle to drive us around, and I'm quite okay with that. Instead we walked to the Red Line of the Chicago Transit Authority or CTA. I was comfortable with this because it was much like the Bay Area's BART system. Multiple lines of trains, all named after colors, which made it very simple, all revolve around one big Loop. All trains meet up at The Loop and branch off into all different directions of Illinois. We boarded the Red Line, about a 10 min walk away from our hotel and transferred onto the Purple Line where it took us within a 15 minute walking distance of Northwestern University. All the walking was worth it, once we got to the university.

Deering Library
At first glance Northwestern University looked a little modern. The first few buildings we saw looked somewhat like modern architecture with clear concise design and sharp corners. As my cohort and I walked deeper into the campus the 1800's architecture clearly showed. Limestone and concrete buildings with extreme amounts of detail and curves, made me feel as if I was walking around Hogwarts. We found ourselves at the Visitor Center and the Hogwarts feeling left as we walked up to an all glass building.

Based off of Washington and Northwestern University's,  I found that most info sessions follow a similar format. These meetings usually started with the many different schools available within the university and its many features, and ending with financial aid and admissions. Rather than giving facts about their school, it seems like a product they're trying to sell and persuade you to go there. Of course this isn't all bad either. They are doing their job well because they have me convinced that Northwestern is the best college in the world. There were many more people attending the Northwestern University than the Wash. U and the seminar room was much larger. Both sessions provided the same amount of info about college life and culture. Once the meeting finished, six very energetic tour guides ran into the room.

Each one introduced themselves and told us to meet them outside. Our tour guide, Ehama, was a senior and 3 year student advisor, so she knew her stuff. Just like the guide at Wash. U, she led us throughout the campus and simultaneously talked about everything from sports to dorms. My favorite parts of the campus were the "Painted Rock" and "Lakefill". Personally I preferred this guide over the one at Wash. U. because she had more info and seemed more interactive. 

Northwestern has a beautiful campus and promising student life. It is right next to Lake Michigan, with beaches scattered around the campus, and the Quarter System splits each school year into 4 seasons instead of semesters, allowing more classes to be taken. In the future I can definitely see my self applying to Northwestern University.

Group picture with Ms. Sue Kwan
At about 6:30 we got all dressed up and began walking to Gibson's Steakhouse for the Northwestern dinner. All I was hoping for is that it would be as fun as the Wash. U. dinner. This time we weren't as early as before and when we got there Ms. Sue Kwan, an admissions officer, was already waiting for us. A few minutes after we got there the rest of the alumni arrived. Gibson's was easily one of the fanciest restaurants and most expensive I have ever been to. 

The night was filled with tender steak and laughs and smiles about Northwestern. I was fortunate enough to sit next to Andrew Choi, class of 2014 and currently a med school student, and Monte Nelson, a senior and a fellow Speech and Debate member. Mr. Monte Nelson and I were able to share stories about past Speech and Debate events, relating it to clubs in Northwestern. Surprisingly, Mr. Andrew Choi knew past students from my school, all the way in Hercules, CA.  We were able to converse about Northwestern foods compared to the west coast, such as Dunkin Donuts on the east and Kinders and Bearded Papa to the west. Mr. Robert Ellis and Ms. Sue Kwan were able to inform us about what it takes to get into a great college such as Northwestern University. Unfortunately, Ms. Viral Patel and I didn't really talk much, for she was far across the table and lost in conversation with my fellow cohort member Aisha Asif. 

Before today I knew almost nothing about Northwestern University. After the info session, site tour, and alumni dinner. Northwestern seems to be on my list of possible application candidates. 

1 comment:

  1. You might recall from the ILC Presentation at your school last October that I mentioned that college fairs (and site visit info sessions) are being offered by salespeople. They’re selling a product--their school. It may be the best school around but they’re never going to tell you anything bad about their school. Just like their web sites, they;re going to show you lots of photos of beautiful old buildings, clear blue skies and lost of green grass. You’re going to see pictures of smiling students of every nationality and every gender. They’re going to show you a photo of a professor standing behind a seated student where the professor has his hand on the student’s shoulder--with all of this leading you to believe that you’re going to get one-on-one instruction from your professor.

    There’s nothing wrong with these presentations but it;s up to you to go in knowing the kinds of questions to ask to discern the good from the bad and to feel out what’s being told to you so you know whether this will be a school that you want to call your own.