Our First College Tour

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.

We took a tour, met with the admissions counselor for international students, ate in the dining hall, and ended our visit by attending a poetry slam (which was perfect for Helen). Helen also took an American Lit class. She was over the moon when she discovered they had just started a rowing program.

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.

The campus had beautiful ivy-covered older buildings and then a new dormitory quad.

After two universities, Helen began to see what she liked and didn't like at these schools and figured out how to ask questions and sell herself at the same time. She became good at stating something about herself and then weaving it into a question for the admissions counselor.

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.

Acadia has really beautiful public spaces. 
There was this study hall:

These botanical gardens with study areas:

This was the view from the dining hall (where you could request ingredients for your favorite recipes and they'd stock the student kitchen for you).


The dorms were also beautiful and each had lounges like these:

kristin  – (November 26, 2012 at 6:03 PM)  

Universities? Gulp. That sure came up fast. x

Dawn  – (November 26, 2012 at 7:30 PM)  

Wow...already?! I don't want to think about my own daughter entering univeristy anytime soon, though I know that time will be here soon enough.
You visited some beautiful places! That study hall looks like a place where I'd love to be.

Quiltin' Mama  – (December 7, 2012 at 7:54 AM)  

Although we live as close to CA as you . . .never really thought about exploring CA colleges and univ. Many from this area go to UNiv. of Toronto which is very urban and very large. We need to start the touring journey as well . . . my 11th grader is looking at Engineering and my Community College Year 1 girl is looking to transfer to Marine Biology. Those schools looked so beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Happy Holidays!

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