Friday morning we woke up ridiculously early because we had at 11am meeting with the admissions lady at UPenn. We were going to take the train over to Philadelphia, but then found out about the Chinatown bus which was much cheaper. For $20, it picks you up in Chinatown in NYC and drops you off in Chinatown in Philly and as long as you keep your ticket stub, it will bring you back too. Somehow we found the bus, which was amazing seeing how we had no idea where to pick it up at, Chinatown isn't exactly small, and made it to Philadelphia by 10am. We then had to hail a cab because it was really cold and rainy to take us to UPenn. We knew that the social work building was near Wharton so we got dropped off there and wandered around the massive building before asking for directions. Once at the actual social work building we were still early so we sat and waited and met a very nice guy who is in the non-profit leadership/non-governmental leadership graduate program. He told us all about the school and the lack of guys and how to get free beer. We finally met with the admissions lady and she was very helpful as well. She told us all about the program and gave us lots of free stuff. I was pretty impressed with the program and the campus, at least from what i saw. When Claire and I were walking through campus after our meeting we saw these guys "rocking for the homeless." They were in recliners, in the rain, "rocking." And they were going to be doing it for 48 straight hours. They were raising money for the homeless in Philadelphia and they were shouting at everyone walking by to donate money. Yes, GUYS were doing this! At Baylor, it seems as it is mostly girls who do this sort of thing. We thought that boys being involved in doing something like this rocked, pun intended. The admissions lady had told us that the student body was pretty active in politics and activism type things. This was one of the most appealing parts of the school to me since the Baylor student body is pretty apathetic about everything.
We went to Temple later in the day, although we did not have an appointment. We were unable to schedule one so we just dropped in and happened to catch the admissions guy. He was very helpful and honest about their program and gave us a mini tour of the campus. Overall, I was not too impressed by it, at least not compared to UPenn. I did like that they seemed to be more focused on the students though. The way the guy was talking it appeared that the students get to make a lot of the decisions their education and I liked that.
Saturday morning we attended an information session at Columbia. There were about 20-25 prospective students there for it and it was great. They have a brand new social work building and it is amazing - 10 stories high, computer labs, breakout rooms, A LIBRARY, a multipurpose room, and so much more. I have never seen anything like it before that is solely for social work. It puts our little school in the parking garage to shame! Although we did just get a bike rack... Anyways, the information session was great and it answered a lot of my questions about the school. It was strange though because Claire and I were the youngest in the room and the only advance standing candidates so while everyone was older than us, we knew the most about social work. We were the only ones who got why it was funny that there were breakout rooms and role playing rooms.
Right before we went on the tour of the school, we ran into our friend Mary Beth! She just started her first year of grad school there and was in the student lounge area. We didn't know that she'd be there that day studying so it was a total surprise to see her. We talked for a few minutes before we had to get back to our tour, but we were able to meet her the next day for breakfast and pick her brain about Columbia.
I'v decided that I really like UPenn and Columbia, but not so much Temple. But I can't decide which I like better between the two. Good thing I have a while to decide. Plus, I have to see where I can actually get in. Minor detail.