A large part of the college search, such as research programs, professors, and even learning about clubs and campus activities, can take place online nowadays. While that can be a great thing, there are still some things that you just cannot find out about online. For those readers who are already heavily considering attending certain universities, especially those in their junior or senior year, I would highly recommend for you to visit colleges! Visiting schools can be a crucial factor when it comes to deciding which school you actually want to attend, as you can get a better feel for the kinds of people, activities, and values the school possesses by physically being there.
However, I know that sometimes money and time do not allow everyone to visit every school that they would like. That is why I am going to give you the full run down of my visit to Washington University!
The University of Washington is located in Seattle, Washington. It is located about a 10-15 drive from the actual downtown area of Seattle, but the school does offer to bus to downtown, which most students do utilize. The immediate surroundings of the school did feel more like a typical “college town”, with cheap restaurants, apartments mainly occupied by college students, and lots of small coffee shops.
However, just over a bridge is downtown, where there is more of a city feel with many tourist attractions, public transportation, and a bustling nightlife. If you are someone who enjoys cities such as Denver, San Francisco, Sacramento, which are all relatively large, artsy cities, I think you would enjoy the location of this university.
However, if you are not a huge city person, I still do not think it would be difficult for you to attend this school. The campus itself is separate from the city, not integrated into the city such as schools like New York University. The campus also has abundant greenery, as Seattle receives about 152 days of rain a year.
Despite the fact that I visited during an unusual dry spell of about two weeks, the campus was still very green, with beautiful trees and patches of grass (where it seems like students like to play sports and hang out on) everywhere you look. Also, they have many outdoor activity clubs, such as mountain biking, hiking, and surfing clubs, due to the close proximity to several mountain ranges, such as Mt. Rainier and Mt. Si, the Olympic National Park and Forest, and the Pacific Ocean.
The people seemed relatively friendly at this school. My dad and I got lost on our way to the Admissions Center and stopped two separate students for directions. Both were very nice and helpful. The first girl that helped us was a freshman who kindly pointed us on our way.
However, it was actually a pretty far walk from where we parked, so we were unsure of where we were going and asked the second student, a junior basketball player, who actually walked us all the way to the admissions center (about a 7 minute walk out of his way) and was extremely kind and informed about the school. He was very honest about what he did and didn’t like about the school, saying that his favorite thing about UW was the school spirit and his least favorite was the class size. However, talking to him gave us a really good feel for the school, because I feel if people are nice and outgoing to a high school student and her dad, they would probably be the same to their own peers.
I definitely recommend talking to a student, who maybe isn’t necessarily your tour guide since they are almost always outgoing and friendly, to get a feel for what the general student body is like. From my observations, the campus seemed relatively diverse in terms of gender and race compared to many other schools I have visited; however, I later learned at the admissions meeting after the tour that the campus is largely made up of students who are from either Washington or California.
It is a public university, meaning students from that state receive cheaper tuition, but I still found it surprising that at such a large university that the vast majority of students only came from those two states. I observed this for myself during the beginning of my tour when the tour guides were introducing themselves. All six tour guides that day were from Washington, three of them actually from the same city (Tacoma).
The tour at UW was pretty standard. It started with a student-led walking tour, which covered historical facts about the school as well as general information about student life, academics, sports, etc. The campus was relatively large so this tour was a lot of walking.
However, the tour guide, a senior, was extremely nice and was able to answer nearly every question about the school regarding campus life, Greek life, the food, the dorms, the academics, traveling abroad, etc. He was easy to talk to and confirmed my assumption that I had made earlier while talking to the junior that the people were generally friendly.
Though, I would like to share a story that he had that may counter this opinion: he almost transferred after his freshman year because he did not like his group of friends. He ended the story by saying he was glad he didn’t, but it did show that at every school there are some bad eggs, and maybe at UW, not everyone is as friendly as those that I encountered.
Overall, if you like city life, are a more liberal-leaning individual, and enjoy big campus spirit, I think that you would like the vibe of the University of Washington. However, if you are looking for a small school where you will know most students and professors by name, are more conservative, and don’t like rain, UW may not be the place for you.
I had a generally positive experience visiting this school, and if you are seriously considering attending, would highly suggest visiting for yourself if possible!
Comment any schools that you’ve visited and your experiences there! I would love to have a discussion.