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Visiting Colleges & Unis Around PHL/EWR/JFK

Visiting Colleges & Unis Around PHL/EWR/JFK

Old Jul 18, 18, 10:26 pm
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Originally Posted by DELee View Post
Having later then picked up at an Avis location in Midtown and drove only down to downtown Philly and dropping the car/van off there, costs of car rentals out of Manhattan are not cheap with all of the taxes and fees imposed. With older age kids/young adults and flexibility in travel, renting back out at either one of the NYC airports or outside the NYC area may be a better deal.
Manhattan is a different animal for car rentals—very expensive. If you’re in Manhattan, the best way to rent a car is to take the train to somewhere on the Metro North or NJ Transit lines (as far away from the city as makes sense for you) and get it there.
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Old Jul 18, 18, 11:51 pm
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Good Luck!

Having spent last year doing the same with my oldest, here's my 2 cents:

Depending on the other schools you are seeing, I would go for the car rental, however plan on losing the car if you are going into NYC.
As for Flights, check the prices for flights and rental cars flying into PHL and out of EWR vs round trip to EWR. Newark isn't that far from Phila.

We would plant the car in a major city, PHL, BOS, then take public transportation between the various schools in the central area. The car was for hops out to the schools in the 'burbs or further.

No more than 2 schools per day, if driving is involved. It's possible to do 3 if they are clustered in a city, but I wouldn't.

Go to schools of varying sizes: Penn and Princeton are nice, but contrast it with a Haverford, or a Bard.

Go to at least one safety school (you can do that closer to home)

If you can go on a specialized departmental or college tour, it makes the visit much more informative. You will need to set these up in advance.

Don't just take
.

Last edited by AMflier; Jul 18, 18 at 11:52 pm Reason: Moved Video Link to the Bottom
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Old Jul 19, 18, 4:54 pm
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Originally Posted by AMflier View Post
Good Luck!

Having spent last year doing the same with my oldest, here's my 2 cents:

Depending on the other schools you are seeing, I would go for the car rental, however plan on losing the car if you are going into NYC.
As for Flights, check the prices for flights and rental cars flying into PHL and out of EWR vs round trip to EWR. Newark isn't that far from Phila.

We would plant the car in a major city, PHL, BOS, then take public transportation between the various schools in the central area. The car was for hops out to the schools in the 'burbs or further.

No more than 2 schools per day, if driving is involved. It's possible to do 3 if they are clustered in a city, but I wouldn't.

Go to schools of varying sizes: Penn and Princeton are nice, but contrast it with a Haverford, or a Bard.

Go to at least one safety school (you can do that closer to home)

If you can go on a specialized departmental or college tour, it makes the visit much more informative. You will need to set these up in advance.

Don't just take generic tours.
We very much appreciate the collective wisdom in this thread. The responses have been very helpful. I'm in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment as my oldest is away on a trip, and though we're pretty solid on the school choices-- U Penn, Princeton, West Point-- the deal was, he gets two or three picks, and I get two, maybe three, depending on how everything comes together. So U Penn and West Point were my picks, Princeton and MIT were his, but we can't swing MIT because they are on break when we want to visit. So now we're considering alternatives that work with his interests (engineering).

I'm thinking that seeing just one campus each day is reasonable; were you doing more than that?

I'm hoping to burn some AA miles in at least one direction, but it looks like at least one direction will be paid, and maybe any hops from EWR to BOS or BWI. But I want him to do some of the due diligence/searching for availability, if only to learn about it for future reference.
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Old Jul 19, 18, 5:10 pm
  #19  
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"So now we're considering alternatives that work with his interests (engineering)."

Come see Cornell!

ITH is often -- but not always -- on the list of AA reduced-mileage-award destinations if you hold a qualifying AA credit card: just 8,750 miles one way.
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Old Jul 19, 18, 5:17 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
"So now we're considering alternatives that work with his interests (engineering)."

Come see Cornell!

ITH is often -- but not always -- on the list of AA reduced-mileage-award destinations if you hold a qualifying AA credit card: just 8,750 miles one way.
As a Cornell graduate myself (Arts ‘89), I second this! A great school, a very different environment than any of the other colleges you’re visiting, and a beautiful vacation spot to boot.

West Point is quite a different animal than any other schools on your list. You’re aware of this, right?
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Old Jul 20, 18, 5:18 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
"So now we're considering alternatives that work with his interests (engineering)."

Come see Cornell!

ITH is often -- but not always -- on the list of AA reduced-mileage-award destinations if you hold a qualifying AA credit card: just 8,750 miles one way.
I think this is an excellent suggestion, and I am going to encourage this. They are not on break when we are traveling. Unsurprisingly, every itinerary from here to ITH would involve a connection, but PHL to ITH is a great way to use some AA miles. Unfortunately I closed an AA card last year, but I can always get a different one.

Originally Posted by travelmad478 View Post

As a Cornell graduate myself (Arts ‘89), I second this! A great school, a very different environment than any of the other colleges you’re visiting, and a beautiful vacation spot to boot.

West Point is quite a different animal than any other schools on your list. You’re aware of this, right?
We are very much aware that West Point is entirely different. But regarding Cornell, I would agree, the location is a positive.
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Old Jul 20, 18, 5:22 pm
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If you do go to Ithaca, I’d just drive. It’s 4 hours from either Philly or NY (well, 4 hours from the exit of the Lincoln Tunnel, which might take you an hour to reach!) and you can see some nice countryside along the way. Flying would not really save much time, if any.
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Old Jul 21, 18, 10:21 am
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Originally Posted by travelmad478 View Post
If you do go to Ithaca, I’d just drive. It’s 4 hours from either Philly or NY (well, 4 hours from the exit of the Lincoln Tunnel, which might take you an hour to reach!) and you can see some nice countryside along the way. Flying would not really save much time, if any.
I would probably start or end the trip in ITH. If ITH happens to be on the list of AA reduced-mileage-award destinations for March (we should know that sometime in the first week of December when AA updates the list), starting in ITH makes a lot of sense. With a one-day, one-way rental from ITH to Manhattan, the OP and his son can visit West Point on the trip down. (Driving through the Catskills rather than the Poconos, West Point is just a short diversion from the route.) Then, when OP and son are done with Manhattan, a one-day, one-way car rental from Manhattan to Philly would enable them to visit Princeton on that drive.
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Old Jul 22, 18, 12:08 am
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Originally Posted by zippy the pinhead View Post

I'm thinking that seeing just one campus each day is reasonable; were you doing more than that?
There were a couple of days that we managed 2. Sometimes because of proximity, sometimes because of programs offered on certain days.

We went to Penn and Drexel on the same day. They are across the street from each other (proximity)
We went to Steven's and Lehigh on the same day, which I wouldn't have done unless scheduling demanded it.

You're decision to only go when class is in session is wise. It's the only way you can really get a feel for a place.

Good Luck!
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Old Jul 23, 18, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by DELee View Post
costs of car rentals out of Manhattan are not cheap with all of the taxes and fees imposed.
The taxes for a rental from Manhattan are lower than for a rental from the airport. It's the base rate that's (often) higher.
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Old Jul 23, 18, 2:38 pm
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I'd drive to Cornell from Penn; It's about five hours and a very pretty drive, especially if you take the Southern Tier expressway in NYS. For engineering, RPI (Renesslear, spelling?) might be worth checking as it's reasonably close to Cornell. Another strong engineering school that might serve as a safe choice and is almost on the way between Penn and Cornell is Lehigh. IMO Princeton and Penn are somewhat strange choices for a student who knows that he/she wants engineering as I think of these schools as "boutique" engineering programs, although they're strong in a few specific areas (as is Columbia for O.R./I.E.). What about Carnegie Mellon? (Six or seven hours from Penn)

Note that for Princeton, you can easily fly into either PHL or EWR, although EWR is the more common choice.
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Old Jul 23, 18, 5:58 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I'd drive to Cornell from Penn; It's about five hours and a very pretty drive, especially if you take the Southern Tier expressway in NYS. For engineering, RPI (Renesslear, spelling?) might be worth checking as it's reasonably close to Cornell.

RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, pronounced ren-sa-LEAR) is a fine school to visit but it’s in Troy, more than 3 hours from Ithaca, so not what I’d call close. Lehigh, on the other hand, is more or less on the way from Philadelphia to Ithaca. When I was in high school, Lehigh was considered a solid safety school, but in these days of the Common App, who knows.
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Old Jul 24, 18, 5:26 am
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Originally Posted by travelmad478 View Post
When I was in high school, Lehigh was considered a solid safety school, but in these days of the Common App, who knows.
Lehigh's acceptance rate for the class of 2021 was 25.1%. It is therefore not a reliable safety.
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Old Jul 24, 18, 8:09 am
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Originally Posted by Analise View Post
Lehigh's acceptance rate for the class of 2021 was 25.1%. It is therefore not a reliable safety.
That would depend very heavily on the student. The OP mentions visiting Princeton - if they're right that their child has a realistic chance of getting into Princeton, then Lehigh is certainly a good safety school choice.
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Old Jul 26, 18, 10:16 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
[...] IMO Princeton and Penn are somewhat strange choices for a student who knows that he/she wants engineering as I think of these schools as "boutique" engineering programs, although they're strong in a few specific areas (as is Columbia for O.R./I.E.). What about Carnegie Mellon? [...]
I was pretty clueless when I was around this age; like many his age (16 going on 17), a significant factor in his university-choosing thought process is various bits of information that filters back from friends and friends-of-friends. Part of the purpose of the trip is helping to align that process with reality a little bit more, but gently and discretely.

He is on the fence between physics and engineering, so I am content to let the process play out, and at this point I think the main purpose of visiting various campuses is to collect some concrete examples of what he likes and dislikes, in addition to information, contacts, and so forth.

But the responses in this thread have been very helpful, and really appreciated. Planning continues...
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