DAY 1 (August 13th)
Princeton University by Laurah Onkendi (Scholars ‘12, Dana Hall School ‘16)
As soon as I stepped on campus, I was amazed by the architecture of the buildings. The campus had a historic, yet modern vibe that was captivating. Our tour guide was energetic, and well versed on the student experience on campus. My favorite building on the Princeton campus was the Firestone Library, because I was amazed by the abundance of resources the library had to offer. The library had three sub-levels in addition to the four floors within the building. Our tour guide even talked about the seventy miles of book shelving that lined the library. My favorite location in Princeton was the Prospect Garden. This garden was colorful and quiet, and it would be a great spot to study and just relax on a sunny day.
During the information session I admired how Princeton University values community. It is important that the people who attend Princeton contribute to and enrich the community. The school values intellectual curiosity, and looks for students who are excited about learning. Princeton also has the largest reunion of alumni with the United States. This shows that those who graduate from Princeton will always stay connected to the community no matter where they go.
Villanova University by Rafid Kabir (Scholars ‘12, George School ‘16)
When we first arrived on Villanova’s campus, it appeared to be serene and scenic. Just thirty minutes from Philadelphia, this big Division 1 school appeared to be so calm. The buildings were either renovated or new, and there was a lot of space and land. One place in particular that stood out was an arch that not only had a mixture of ancient and modern architecture, but had a romantic story behind it. Our tour guide informed us that when it was first constructed, a man proposed to his wife under that arch. Now, any couple that stands under the arch are destined to live a happy life together.
While the architecture and history behind the campus was a breath of fresh air, the information session was what really stood out to me. The admissions representative talked about the business programs and the valuable experiences the students had there. The representative also talked about the school’s nursing program and the success of pre-med tracked students. Villanova is known to have one of the top undergraduate business programs, along with high acceptance rates to medical school in comparison to the country. Overall, the academic programs at Villanova are reputable, and student life is vibrant.
DAY 2 (August 14th)
Haverford College by Harry Flores (Scholars ‘12, Dublin School ‘16)
Before arriving at Haverford College, one of the SEEDS scholars presented some information about the college to the group. She talked about the school’s mascot, demographics of the student population, faculty to student ratio, and its connection with Quaker principles. While driving through Haverford’s campus, I saw people running up and down the street with tall trees on either side of them. This led me to believe that the campus was small, but truly beautiful. The faculty to student ratio also told me that I was going to receive attention from my professors. However, I was unsure of how Quakerism related to the founding principles of the school, and how these principles would impact the campus community. However, the admissions representatives talked about how the Quakers believed in the presence of all the genders on the schools’ founding board of trustees. This further translated to the school believing in advocacy and equality for all within academics and public affairs.
Although I was not able to explore the campus, the information session provided me some knowledge about “Haverfordorian” way. The admissions representatives talked about the institution’s partnerships, active student life and the historical background. I liked how almost all of the students lived on campus and had easy access to a train that took them to downtown Philadelphia. Both of the admissions representatives shared the many traditions carried out by the campus community, one of them being Pinwheel Day. This is when a mysterious group of people decorate the campus with pinwheels on a beautiful spring day. They also explained how the founding Quaker principles embraced diversity, and this translates to the activism on campus today. I enjoyed visiting Haverford College and hope to come back for a tour.
Swarthmore College by Moniesha Hayles (Scholars ‘12, Storm King School ‘16)
When I walked on campus, the first thing that really caught my attention was a beautiful mural the school had near one of their parking lots. We kept walking around and the campus was simply amazing. My first impression of Swarthmore is that this school is very well kept and very homey. The buildings were modern and the campus was spacious. Our tour guide was another highlight of the visit. I could really sense how much she cared for the college, and the pride and the love she had for her school. She took us inside one of the dorms and I liked how the dorm was integrated across all class years. All grade levels can live in the same dorm, which is very helpful if you ever need insight from an upperclassman. Another thing I really liked was the dining hall. They had a system where if you wanted a dish made, you would write it on the napkin board and the cooking staff would do their best to create it for you.
Out of all the locations our tour guide took us, my favorite would have to be the Scott Amphitheatre. It is an outside theater surrounded by beautiful scenery. All students begin their four years with a tradition they call “First Collection” and they light each other’s candle by passing it down the line. It is also the location of graduation and where the seniors start their new beginning after college. Academic wise, something that stood out to me was the pass-fail semester. The pass-fail semester is the first semester of a student’s freshman year. A student can still take classes for a major, but can also take classes of interest outside of focus areas and those grades will not be on transcripts. Also, if a student doesn’t see the major of interest want at Swarthmore he or she can create one, or can take classes at Haverford, Bryn Mawr, at the University of Pennsylvania. Overall, Swarthmore was an amazing college to visit, and I would recommend any high school senior to pay them a visit.