Helen and I visited Canada over Thanksgiving on our first college tour. This is the year for touring colleges and, with only limited vacation times, decided to use our Thanksgiving break to tour in Canada since they weren't on Thanksgiving.
We began at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Helen wants to attend a small liberal arts school in a rural area, preferably in the north--the colder the better for her! St. Thomas has around 2500 students and has a first-year student program called the Aquinas Program which is a year-long interdisciplinary course based on Great Books. Helen was very excited about combining her interests in English, Philosophy, and Political Science and working with a team of teachers and students for an entire year.
The campus is gorgeous. It sits high on a hill overlooking Fredericton and shares some facilities with the University of New Brunswick. The classroom buildings have numerous hang-out and study spaces like this one below. There was a fun "buzz" of students congregating everywhere working and chatting.
Helen left St. Thomas feeling like she could see herself comfortably at college. It was a great way to begin. We then moved eastward to visit Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick.
Mount Allison also has around 2500 students. We also began this visit with a tour after which Helen attended a political science class. We enjoyed lunch and learned how the chef would make your Mom's secret recipes and add them to his rotation if they were a hit. At Mount Allison, we found the Owens Art Gallery and discovered a vibrant studio art program and a community with many artists. This was very appealing to Helen.
Our visit with the Admissions Counselor answered many questions about applying to Canadian schools and how to get scholarships. It was very helpful. She was quite interested in Helen's high school pursuits and told her she would be a good fit. Mount Allison is rated as the number 1 undergraduate university in Canada, so that was nice.
Our final visit was to Acadia University in Nova Scotia. We also began this visit with a tour. Acadia is the largest of the three schools with around 3,000 undergraduates. By now we knew what we wanted to look for.
After our tour Helen had a meeting with the English Department Chair (it was a good thing this happened on the third visit as by then she had things to talk about :). She had a wonderful conversation and came away very excited about studying at Acadia.
So that was our first college tour. We learned a lot. We'll be touring some schools in the U.S. during February and April breaks.