We awoke at about seven o’clock this morning to catch the ten o’clock flight to Chicago from Washington D.C. The flight was about one hour long, but because of the time change, we actually gained one hour. The flight was over quickly and we went straight to our hotel. Our hotel, the Omni Hotel, was in an area of Chicago that was very trendy with many clothing stores and skyscrapers. We entered the hotel and right away saw it was going to be very fancy. Our rooms were more suites than rooms, and the interiors of the rooms were beautiful. We did not spend much time in them immediately though, we had to hurry to have enough time to eat lunch and arrive at the Northwestern University campus tour and information session on time.
At 2:30, the campus information started. The senior admissions officer leading the presentation was named Tony Garcia, and she had graduated from Northwestern with a degree in communications about ten years ago. Northwestern has six schools; The Weinberg School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communications, the School of Education and Social Policy, The McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Medill School of Journalism, and lastly, the Bienen School of Music. Like many other schools, the most populated school was the school of arts and sciences, because of how general your studies can be in that school. Financial aid was also need-based, but unfortunately, students could leave school with up to 21,500 dollars in student loans. This is unlike UPenn, which did not have students graduating owing any money to the school. A positive thing though, is that students in one school can take classes from another school if they are interested in the topic. They can also switch schools, or transfer, if they think the other school may be a better fit for them. In this aspect, Northwestern is similar to Washington University.
Dissimilar to our anticipations, the weather in Chicago was much cooler than we thought it would be. In fact it was near raining and windy, and Chicago is expecting a second polar vortex in the summer. Temperatures may be down to 40 degrees according to our taxi driver. We began the tour with our tour guide, Marie Donaldson, a student on a pre-med track. We saw many buildings on the campus, which seemed to be very compact, and all in one area. This is true, although, Northwestern does have a campus in the actual city of Chicago. The architecture of the buildings was very modern, although there were some classic stone buildings covered in ivy. It started raining soon after our tour began, so we headed inside a classroom to learn more about classes and class sizes. Like the other schools we visited, only a very small percentage of the classes have more than 100 students, and if they do, are broken down into smaller study sessions occasionally. She told us at the end of the tour, that in the end, she chose Northwestern for its spirit, its sense of community and support, and its accessibility. It is very close to Chicago and can be easily reached with public transportation.
As soon as we arrived back from the tour, we had to quickly change into formal wear for our dinner with Northwestern alumni, students, and admissions officers. The dinner was only a couple blocks away from our hotel, so we walked. The restaurant was an Italian restaurant with multiple floors and different sections. We met our guests, four students (Vyril, Monte, Andrew, Chris, and Vernan), and one admissions officer (Jamie). I sat near Andrew, who just graduated this past year and was on the pre-med track. He is from Michigan, but coincidentally, he wants to head to California for medical school. The other student I sat near was Monte, who was from Indiana and studied sociology and psychology. Something he told me about is college experience was that he struggled at first balancing his academic life with his social life, which is something that really caught up to him in a negative way eventually. Though his first couple college years were not all positive and good, he did say that he ended up learning a lot about himself. The admissions officer, Jamie, sat diagonally from me so I did get to learn a little about her. She was very involved in theatre at Northwestern and said that one of her favorite things about the university was the amount of support students give each other, whether its peer to peer, or upperclassman to underclassman.
The restaurant we attended was one of the most elegant ones so far. First we ordered appetizers for the whole table. An assortment of cheeses and paired honey, caprese, and meatballs arrived at our table soon afterwards. I ordered chicken with thyme and golden raisins for my entree, which was delicious. Then for desert, I ordered blueberry-lavender sorbet. The night was coming to an end and we started to say goodbye to everyone and take some last goodbye pictures.