Guiding your student beyond the application.

College Visits

College visits.


Every year, Kristen visits 25-30 colleges, meeting with college admissions staff as they travel through Portland, and keeping up-to-date on college offerings and programs. Choosing to go and where to go to college is likely one of the biggest decisions and investments parents and their student will make. Kristen recognizes that not only do colleges need to be a good academic, social, and emotional fit, but families also need to consider the cost over the entire college experience and how that cost will be paid.

This page is ordered by date, with more recent visits near the top of the page.



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Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee is striking with its red, yellow, and brown “collegiate gothic” sandstone buildings, thirteen of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, Rhodes is classified as an Arboretum and is located across the street from the Memphis Zoo. Rhodes, a nationally-ranked liberal arts and sciences college, is filled with collaborative and involved undergraduates (2,000), many of whom aspire to attend medical school, participate in research early and often, and who enjoy music and culture.

Read more about Kristen’s trip to Rhodes College here.

Tennessee stop #7. February 2019.



“Driven by Doing” is the motto for the 17,000 undergraduates (of which 12,000 are full-time students), and they are doing a lot of things on and around the U of Memphis campus. A relatively new president (M. David Rudd, 2014) and new laws allowing for an independent governing board to be established have given U of M the freedom to control the University's strategic direction.

Read more about Kristen’s trip to the University of Memphis here.

Tennessee stop #6. February 2019.



Christian Brothers University, in Memphis, Tennessee is a Lasallian school with 1300 students and considers itself “really good at creating a home for the kid who didn’t quite fit in during high school”, as well as being the safest campus in Tennessee (it is close to downtown, but very secure and enclosed). Lasallian education centers on Catholic values and personal relationships, emphasizing academic excellence, faith formation, inclusion, respect for the individual, service and social justice.

At CBU, 29 states and 33 different faiths are represented on campus.

Read more about Kristen’s trip to Christian Brothers University here.

Tennessee stop #5. February 2019.

Fisk University


Fisk University, in Nashville, Tennesee was founded in 1866 just after the Civil War. Fisk’s first students ranged in age from seven to seventy, but shared common experiences of slavery and poverty along with an “extraordinary thirst for learning.” In 1953, Fisk received a charter for the first chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society on a predominantly black campus. Today, Fisk’s 800 students enjoy a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio and can take courses not offered on their campus at nearby Vanderbilt University. Top majors are Biology, Psychology, and Business; 78% go on to professional or graduate school, and students who qualify can be accepted into the School of Medicine or Dentistry at Meharry Medical College after three years at Fisk.

Read more about Kristen’s trip to Fisk University here.

Tennessee stop #4. February 2019.



Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee, is a mid-sized residential research university focused on undergraduate teaching and research with around 6,800 undergraduates, 50% of whom participate in research as early as freshman/sophomore year (Vanderbilt also has 5,700 grad students).

Undergraduates are split between four undergraduate colleges: The College of Arts & Science, Blair School of Music, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, and the School of Engineering. Students apply to one of the four schools, but everyone takes their core liberal arts courses in the College of Arts and Science.

Read more about Kristen’s trip to Vanderbilt University here.

Tennessee stop #3. February 2019.

Sewanee+University+Of+The+South 2019


Sewanee, The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee (50 miles from Chattanooga and 90 miles from Nashville) has 1,700 undergraduates, of which 80% are from out of state. The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee (50 miles from Chattanooga and 90 miles from Nashville) has 1,700 undergraduates, of which 80% are from out of state.

The Fiske Guide notes “it can easily be mistaken for an Oxford or a Cambridge plunked down in the highlands of Tennessee”, and I definitely felt a unique level of respect and academic ambition on campus.

Read more about Kristen’s trip to Sewanee, The University Of The South here.

Tennessee stop #2. February 2019.

Belmont University 2019


In February 2019, Kristen did her first college visit trip of the year. Her first stop? Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. It is the largest Christian University in Tennessee and is ranked #5 in the Regional Universities South (USNWR), but is mostly known for its music programs and helping students get their start in the music business. The campus is located next to the world famous music row and is just two miles from downtown Nashville.

Read more about Kristen’s trip to Belmont University here.

Tennessee stop #1. February 2019.



Syracuse University


Energetic students dressed in bright Syracuse orange move about this hillside campus filled with interesting architectural styles, including the Hall of Languages that inspired the Addams Family Home. Incoming students apply to one of nine colleges or schools, or to one of 10 dual-degree programs, including the prestigious Newhouse School of Public Communications, the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, the School of Architecture and the College of Visual & Performing Arts. There are lots of interesting majors in the “I-school” (College of Information Studies) and the Whitman School of Management offers popular programs like Supply Chain Management and Real Estate along with the usual biz majors. It had exactly what you would expect a college to offer, and then some...including lots of snow!

New York stop #8. October 2018.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

HWS is the result of joining two single-sex colleges, with students identifying as female receiving a diploma from William Smith and male-identified students receiving one from Hobart. All students can choose from the same courses, majors, and even joint residence halls. Known for strong study abroad, as top fulbright and peacecorp producers, guaranteed internships as part of their Pathways Curriculum and a 95% Med School placement rate. Another gorgeous campus with happy students!

New York stop #7. October 2018.

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Happy, friendly, and engaged students enjoy strong professional programs in media, arts, business, occupational and physical therapy. Students get to be hands-on in their field of interest on day one. Ithaca is another “gorges” campus, but with a better view of Cayuga Lake than Cornell. Aside from participating in or watching one of the 27 Ithaca-produced TV shows, 8 theatre productions, or 300 concerts each year, students enjoy festivals and activities in the town of Ithaca.

New York stop #6. October 2018.


Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Cornell’s campus is “gorges”, a play on how beautiful it is and the waterways splitting the campus. It’s 7 colleges offer over 4000 courses, including its world famous Hotel Administration, Industrial and Labor Relations, Architecture and Engineering.

New York stop #5. October 2018.




Colgate University in Hamilton, NY (yes, Colgate is in Hamilton and Hamilton is in Clinton). Colgate is a destination college, as its beautiful campus is out in the middle of farmland. Students choose to come here because they are ready to maximize the liberal arts feel with large university opportunities, plenty of hands-on experience, and mentoring by professors. If you are looking for strong Greek life, sports culture, plus a work hard/play hard mentality, this fits!

New York stop #4. October 2018.



Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. No, Lin-Manuel Miranda hasn’t visited campus yet, but plenty of prominent figures have. The traditional liberal arts college wants to enroll students passionate about “discovering who they truly are”, and give students plenty of beautiful acreage (over 3000 for less than 2000 students), a very open curriculum, and a strong alumni network to explore.

New York stop #3. October 2018.



Rochester Institute of Technology is full of techies and engineers, but also creative students that like technology. Their Packaging Science & Design Program can’t get enough graduates in the market to meet demand. Students here embrace the gray & cold weather with community service, ice skating classes for beginners and studying for tests in the hot tubs with laminated notes!

New York stop #2. October 2018.

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University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. Rochester students are able to explore their interests with limited core requirements on the diverse “river” campus as well as pursue majors, take classes or simply enjoy performances from students at their Eastman School of Music. The “Rochester Effect” means students learn by doing (77% are involved in research) and are afforded an individualized education, with opportunities to apply for a free 5th year to explore interests outside their major. Underground tunnels and strong outdoor and skiing clubs help cope with the gray and snow.

New York stop #1. October 2018.