As you begin the college search process, it is important to investigate a variety of schools so you can see how you feel about some basic features such as size, location, and campus life. It in not necessary to visit every school you might want to apply to; colleges of similar types can serve as “templates” for others in different parts of the country. The University of Oregon, Portland State University, and the University of Washington can give you a good sense of what life is like at large public universities, so they are reasonable templates for, say, the University of Colorado, Michigan, or Massachusetts. Similarly, Reed, Lewis & Clark, and Linfield can be good templates for smaller liberal-arts colleges like Occidental, Denison, or Wesleyan. You can find out a lot about your preferences by making a few local visits first, then using the information you gather to fine-tune an itinerary in another part of the country.
Here are some suggestions for a range of West Coast schools you may want to visit. Mix things up a bit and keep an open mind as you plan an itinerary – you may surprise yourself and find a great match at a school you haven’t really considered before. Schools listed below are roughly divided by size; those labeled “special interest” have distinctive approaches to undergraduate education or specialize in particular academic areas. If you would like sample itineraries for other parts of the country, please e-mail the college counselors. We’ll be happy to offer suggestions.
Large: University of Washington
Special interest: California College of the Arts