03 August 2011

Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - 11 comments

Black and White Wednesday - College is RIGHT in front of us

Leading up to the student union at OSU.
The reality of life right now is beginning to sink in.  Our son is an upper class men in exactly two weeks.  He is now needing to focus more on what is two years ahead than what is happening this coming weekend.  Our lives are now revolving around college talk.  Where ever we travel to over the next 20 or so months we will look at any college in our path.  Our adventures have now taken on a new hue.  At this point we are looking at colleges for a starting point of what feels good and what schools offer the right fields of study for Big J which at this point include education and photography.  Then we'll dive in for more detailed tours and meeting with administrators.  During our time in Oregon we checked out four campuses...four very different colleges that has guided us in a direction we will focus more on during our college search. 

We first explored Oregon State University which is an absolutely gorgeous school!  It is filled with history and gives you the sense of Ivy League.  The campus was alive with students which was nice to see during the summer.  Orange is the popular color and it seemed everyone was wearing it...even the fire hydrants!  The Beavers are BIG up here!  As are the Ducks but I'm not really allowed to talk about them since the family there are big OSU fans.  :)
Posing for the mom at OSU.
 The buildings were amazing and the landscape was old and deep rooted.  I could have spent all day wandering around the grounds and explored every building, I could have even taken a nap in the sunshine filled parks.  The town of Corvallis surrounds the school and easily melds into the streets between campus and community.  The campus though was too big and too old for Big J...in other words it didn't fit him like a well worn pair of shoes.
Classrooms at OSU.
Our next stop was Western Oregon University.  The campus was closed for the summer and was quiet but still gave us a good view of what we wanted to see.    WOU was sweet and small.  We'll need to go back for a better tour if Big J wants but this was a good quick snapshot.
Entrance to WOU.
Library at WOU.
We then went to a private Christian college called Corban University and we were blessed with a private tour with no one but us!  It was a true gift!  The campus is nestled in the hills overlooking Salem and has a very welcoming feeling.  While the buildings were old and dated, Big J found himself liking the atmosphere a bit more than OSU.   I fell in love and instantly saw our son there in the future and of course I had to reign myself in and not push or not push too hard.  ;)
The clock tower and dinning hall and administrative building in the background at Corban.

All of us loved that Corban is service based and encourages an individuals Christian faith and growth in God.  Each step we took, Big J heard more of what he finds valuable in his life and saw photos on the wall of places he wants to see in the world.   While he thought he wanted to be on a large campus, we walked off the grounds of Corban with a new thought process and a door opened for him.  Life at college CAN be more than just class work and books and Greek life!   With most Christian schools there is an expectation of community work and mission trips which is exactly what Big J is looking for on top of obtaining a degree.   Corban may not be the campus for him but it is a school he'll keep on his list as a possibility.
Student union and classrooms at Corban.
Corban Library.  
Another pose for mom...in front of Corban's Psalm Chapel.
The piece of artwork outside is a representation of how we grow with Christ though out our lives until we are with Him in heaven.
And finally on our way home we stopped for a few days in the Medford/Ashland area to not only check out the idea of moving there but also the campus of Southern Oregon University.  My youngest sister is an alumni and lives in the area and was the perfect tour guide for our visit!  Again we were given a private tour with just us and that makes the time on a campus more intimate and asking questions is much easier.  
Library at SOU
Big J really liked it there even though there wasn't an emphasis on service work, mission trips or studies abroad.  The campus is tree filled and quaintly nestled in the community of Ashland.   By this point in our tours of schools, Big J was/is pretty convinced he does not want to go to school in Oregon.  BUT....I told him to have an open mind right now and keep them in his thoughts...we will see.
Doing a little pose for mom in the education building at SOU
The hall of the administration building at SOU.

As of today we are two weeks from the first day of Big J's junior year of high school.  The clock is ticking and time is running out on the innocence of his childhood.  The more I think about the thought of him away at college, the more I cherish this summer and all the hours I've spent driving him to and fro.  In a matter of months it seems, he will be graduating from high school and I'll be helping him hang his clothes in a closet in some dormitory at the college that he'll wear like a well worn pair of shoes for four plus years.  I can't wait to help find that fit for him and spend these next 20 some odd months with him exploring all his options!  We are planning a big Southern California tour this Spring as well as checking out schools in Colorado and Arizona.  He'll also do a four day college experience at his "dream college" (even though he's never seen the campus!) Biola University this Fall or Spring.  Ahhhh if I just had a crystal ball!  

So where did you go to college??  
What was your dream college??  
What did you like or hate about your college experience?  
What advice do you have for us as we begin to find the perfect well worn fit for our boy?? 

Be sure to enjoy more black and white images at The Long Road to China {and back}.


Ahhh, college! I was in private school all throughout, so when it was time to pick a college, I picked the state u... and what an adventure it was! Yes, it was my first choice, not only because of the university's reputation, but also that was the one that allowed me to spread my wings more (vs. the other private university options I had). :)

It is wonderful that you are doing these "prep tours" with him. Not exactly the same thing, but when I was choosing a grade school for J, I went on each school tour trying to picture J in that setting and how well he would fit in and be happy... Get Big J to do the same at each college you visit. Good luck!

I'd also look at the practical side of things such as the help they give graduates to find employment and so on. Sounds like the start of the beautiful adventure!

YIKES! I can't believe it! all you can do at this point is suggest. You have laid the ground work for this lovely young man. He will do what is right.


Ohhh college is a wonderful time! Good luck to him as he figures out what to do. I want to college on East Coast to become a teacher. There are a lot of great education programs around here. I loved being in a smaller town than where I grew up in. I didn't like how a lot of people I went to HS with were also there because it didn't push me to grow as much as I could have.

It is a long time since we were vetting universities for our children to attend! It is an exciting time for them. Your photos are lovely, especially the b&w edits.

What an exciting time!!! I look forward to taking my kids on college visits! Great shots of a great memories!

You should check out Loren Pope's book "Colleges that Change Lives" from your local library.

You should also consider carefully whether or not he has to apply to a particular college within a larger university (locking him in to a major before he starts). I knew people who ended up unhappy in a discipline, but unable to transfer to a different college (within the larger university).

Best of luck!

Thank you so much for linking up with us at Communal Global today. I can't believe it is time to look at colleges already. Doesn't that seem like the most grown up thing. I know he will make a great decision. He looks so grown up : ( I am so glad you had fun shooting the pretty campus shots. Just lovely.

wow - my oldest is almost 10, so we are still years away from this process, and I want to keep it that way :) what an exciting process. I attended Univ of Florida - a large public university, while my husband attended a small private christian college. Both have the advantages and disadvantages, it's all about where the Lord wants you! When you His plans, you can't go wrong :)

Wow big steps! I can't even put in my mind my babies leaving home!

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