I just wanted to quickly post my experience visiting a couple of the schools I applied to for Fall.
I was traveling recently and was able to visit USC, PDX, UCLA, SJSU, SDSU, and converse with the faculty at ASU and UC Denver. Below are short impressions of each school. In each case I was able to ask 20 or so basic questions that were the same every time. Please forgive the crudeness of this post. I am doing this quickly today.
Please share your experiences at these or other schools.
USC- My personal favorite for a reason that has only marginal weight in enrollment decisions in my opinion; they were the kindest to me. They were very organized and extremely friendly and positive. They arranged a whole day for me to meet with counselor, student, and the director. All three were an absolute pleasure. It convinced me to consider USC as a top choice. Beautiful campus, surrounding area is not scary in my opinion. LA is very interesting and has an enormous amount of planning challenges. I come from an east coast city, so obviously its a bit different.
UCLA- Great setup on the appointment with counselor and director. Beautiful campus, clearly dedicated students. Distinguished faculty. I am sure this a top level education. Not as cleanly organized as the usc visit, but the school managed to impress as well as any other i visited, if not more so.
PDX- Awesome city. I love to bike and experience nature. Also, portland boasts an incredible vegetarian culture that is great for me. The school is well-known and I found the program to be very impressive. It appears rigorous and thats exactly what I am looking for. The campus is pretty nice, especially the program's building, which seemed newer. Great school, great visit.
These three are my top 3 choices based on the program and its faculty. I have not heard from any of these schools yet.
SJSU has had a couple planning awards and I thought i would check it out since I was in the area. The meeting was informal but informative. I was given no information on the school and there was no direction of the meeting. I just asked my questions, got short answers and that was it. I was disappointed that SJSU wanted to know nothing about me even though I was applying. I was not very impressed with the program. It was not made to sound very challenging. Also, when I mentioned about meeting with faculty, that was said to be a challenge b/c professors just come in for classes and leave. I find that hard to believe. Also the secretary made it sound like I had no chance of getting in, even though she had absolutely no idea about any part of my background. She repeated it was going to be a fierce competition about four times. Lastly, they mentioned that they would send me a letter asking me if I was serious about my application in about april, and if i sent back that I was indeed serious about the paid application I sent in they would send application decisions in May. Thats after all the other schools I am applying to have their deadline for acceptance. This instantly makes SJSU my backup school as I would have to get in nowhere else for me to the chances of waiting to see if they let me in. I am not excited about SJSU.
SDSU- is nice, but not accredited. The facilities are small and the program is too. Seems challenging and fun. Nice professors. But not accredited, so probably no go.
I could say a lot more about these schools and I will in the future. I will also post on my info Denver and ASU soon.
Does anybody else have any similar experiences?