- the sense of history and the beauty of the architecture (especially at yale) were notable at these institutions; there's simply nothing comparable in california.
- while exceedingly expensive — on the order of $45,000 USD per year — these schools have a remarkable commitment to financial aid. at least they say they do (maybe we'll get to test that!).
- the communities surrounding the schools were very different. cambridge was people-dense and in our experience, somewhat rude. providence (at least the part we were in) was beautiful, but had a homey feel about it. new haven was urban and gritty. princeton was suburban and off the beaten track.
- we met students at each of the four schools, and while we realize it was quite a small sampling, it made a big impression. without naming names (of universities or individuals!), it was clear that some of these folks were very bright, but not terribly well-socialized. others seemed to be classic 'legacy' admissions; we had one student tour guide who talked and talked but just didn't make a lot of sense! finally, we met a few folks who were very impressive — obviously smart but also very good with people.
- as expected, all of these institutions are extremely selective, with admission rates of 8-10%. nothing like aiming high!
she also expects to apply to some schools in california, though the list changes from time to time. as i recall, cal poly - san luis obispo, ucla, uc berkeley, and stanford were in the running.
n got to take a look around as well, and while it was probably a bit early for her (some of those academic information sessions got a little, well, boring for her), i think she and cousin t still had a good time on the trip. getting to watch some movies and eating brushetta chicken pasta and the occasional plate of chili fries helped to make the experience more palatable!