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On the College Tour Circuit
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Wildwood junior, Zach F. takes us along on the College Visit Days for Juniors/East Coast College Trip.

Today we arrived in Washington, D.C. at about 3:30 p.m. and we met our tour guide Allen who brought us to our hotel in Arlington, Virginia which is right outside of D.C. Photo 1We decided to split up and walk around Arlington to find a place for dinner. After our group met back up, we went to D.C. for some monument sightseeing. Our group was captivated by the amazing Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and after, we took a stroll on the National Mall to check out the Lincoln Memorial, as well as the Vietnam and Korea memorials. We were all a little tired from the flight over, so we headed back to our hotel and got the sleep required for a full day of college visits tomorrow!

Today we woke up at 8:30 a.m., had breakfast and headed to our first college visit at Georgetown University! We were all immediately mesmerized by the beautiful colonial architecture and the campus feel of the school. In addition to the amazing campus community, Georgetown is surrounded by a very posh, colonial neighborhood right outside of metropolitan D.C. Photo 2We took a great tour around the campus making sure to check out the new student study hall and some classrooms in Heely Hall, the campus’ main building. Overall, our group loved Georgetown and was extremely excited to go check out George Washington University. We arrived at George Washington University after lunch and headed up to the welcome center for our information session. Right off the bat, GW and Georgetown had extremely different feels, as GW is more of a city- based campus and Georgetown is more secluded. On our tour, we checked out a typical freshman dorm, the amazing science and engineering center, while our tour guide talked to us about his amazing experience at GW. After our tour, we went back to the neighborhood of Georgetown for dinner and then we headed back to our hotel for our last night in D.C.

This morning we woke up early and drove for about an hour until we got to Baltimore, Maryland to visit our first college of the day, Johns Hopkins University. Johns Hopkins is famous for its life sciences program along with its advanced engineering and medical fields of study. The Johns Hopkins Homewood campus is nothing short of spectacular with bricks literally covering every building so that all of the buildings have a brick-laden home style feel. Photo 1We walked around and were nothing short of impressed by the academic integrity of the students. After Johns Hopkins, we took a 20 minute bus ride to Goucher College, a highly progressive liberal arts institution that produces critical thinkers and learners. If it sounds like Wildwood, that’s because it is, except Goucher has more bees. We were all blown away by the mix of new and old architecture and the approachability of the students. After our tour, we drove for about an hour and a half to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania where we would stay for the next two days.

We were able to sleep in a little bit this morning before heading on the bus and driving to Pennsylvania’s picturesque Lehigh Valley. Our first stop was Lehigh University, a renowned research and liberal arts university (and my personal favorite!) quote block_1We were guided by Talia Cooper, a former Wildwood student and a current freshman at Lehigh. Lehigh is situated on a hill, and beautiful views of the valley are accessible from all of the beautiful historic buildings on campus. The consensus of our group was that this place is literally Hogwarts! After Lehigh, we drove for about 30 minutes to Lafayette College which happen to be Lehigh’s fiercest rival. Upon arrival, the admissions representative actually told us about a tradition where students can pay to sledgehammer a car that is painted with Lehigh’s colors; some may think that is intense, but that’s the Lehigh Valley rivalry for you. Lafayette College has an amazing curriculum, combining liberal arts and research in a very historic-feeling university setting. After our college tours, we went back to King of Prussia where we had time to shop in the King of Prussia mall, America’s largest mall, no joke!Photo 2

We left King of Prussia this morning (early, might I add!) and drove to the town of Swarthmore to take a look at Swarthmore College, a renowned liberal arts institution. Something that stood out to us about Swarthmore was the first semester pass/fail system, a system where instead of being graded in your first semester of freshman year, you either pass or fail a class in order to get a taste of which disciplines you like. Photo 4Pretty cool, right? Another cool thing about Swarthmore that was appealing is that it’s part of a tri-college consortium with Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College, meaning they can share books and take classes on each other’s campuses. After Swarthmore, we headed to Haverford but we didn’t have a lot of time to tour so we got an abbreviated version of what would have been a very detailed visit. Haverford has a varied campus in terms of architecture, as some buildings are old and others are very new. We left Haverford and drove to the University of Pennsylvania, our first Ivy League School, and an architectural marvel. As the first university in the United States, Penn truly lives up to it’s reputation of being one of the finest Universities in the country. Penn combines the best of both worlds, providing students with a dynamic education in both the liberal arts and programs such as engineering and business. After Penn, we hopped back on the bus and drove for about two hours to New York City, where we had the whole rest of the night to explore.

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