In college admissions, I always said I’d be happy to admit any student from the Pacific Northwest. I found many to be an intriguing read for their eclectic, earthy, worldly, and wholesome lives. Interestingly enough, I discovered the same words describe the five treasure schools that I visited during my recent visit to Washington and Oregon. Each still had their own distinct vibe and personality. Like many students find a connection or disconnect with a place, I too went with my gut on this whirlwind college counselor tour. Here are my reactions . . .
University of Puget Sound – Tacoma, WA
University of Puget Sound is ambitious in its mission without trying to be another school. It’s 25% increase in applications is proof. A student said, “Professors are good at observing their students and providing opportunities. It is not uncommon to walk out of a professor’s office with a plan for life.” A strikingly pleasant campus . . . yoga mats were often in tow as students strolled through a place that feels like home.
Whitman College – Walla Walla, WA
For an intellectual place, Whitman College is as humble as the quaint community of Walla Walla. Their extremely comprehensive outdoors program mimics what we know well as VMS community members. With a mix of outdoor enthusiasts, it is also a land for really cool hipsters.
Reed College – Portland, OR
Hogwarts? A bit, but really, Reed is truly a one-of-a kind institution. It’s a darkly intellectual institution where competition is welcomed, yet the slogan “work hard, think hard for whom it is a good fit is life changing” is like a breath of fresh air and a bolt of sunlight to the Reedies. The Honor Principle is the guiding code on campus and is often deemed as one of the best things about the school. The other best thing is the extensive labor necessary to successfully complete a thesis that will be forever bound and housed in the library’s thesis tower. I found the comic book reading room most interesting . . . .
Willamette University – Salem, OR
Did you know the current governor of Oregon eats lunch in the dining hall nearly every day? The food is good and the state capitol is across the street from campus. This spirited school has a soul and the president thinks so too. He’s been at the helm for little over a year after growing up on campus as his father was a renowned biology professor years back. The aesthetically pleasing campus not only has a natural stream running through campus, it also has a man-made stream that acts as a lazy river when the sun shines. My preferred spot was under the star trees.
Lewis and Clark College – Portland, OR
Its Asian infused beauty puts it high up on the rankings for most beautiful campus. The peaceful, tranquil nature of campus makes it easy on the senses and the welcoming nature of faculty, staff and students would entice anyone to enroll and be a part of this diverse living-learning village. The iridescent green moss on the trees and the exotic summer camp setting make it a perfect place to film a sequel to The Hobbit.