We started off in San Diego with about 6 kids. My colleague is AMAZING! She planned the whole trip and asked if I could help chaperone and keep company! She arranged the whole thing from the hotel rooms, to rental cars, to meeting up with students at certain colleges etc. She planned out times and everything to ensure that we would meet up with students and also see all of the colleges. I have now been two times with her and her AVID students and it has been life changing!
Get in the car right after school and book it up from San Diego to San Francisco! Super Ambitious! First stop, BERKELEY!
ARRIVAL in Oakland: 2:00 AM. Driver and I, super tired! What kept us up? Listening to tunes like Lady Gaga while the kids were sleeping in the back part of the mini-van.
- Day 1: University of California Berkeley
- Day 1: USF (University San Francisco)
- Day 1: San Francisco State University
- Day 1: UC Santa Cruz
- Day 1: Cal State Monterrey Bay
- Day 1: Stanford University
- Day 2: Santa Clara University
- Day 3: UC Santa Barbara
- Day 3: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
- Day 3: Cal State Dominguez Hills
- Day 3: Pepperdine University
- Day 3: Chapman University
Recommended Hotel that is cheap and reliable. I have stayed here almost every year. It’s close to University and Shattuck. QUALITY INN
They have always been super nice to us and we have made sure that our kids have been nice and respectful. They have continental breakfasts available in the morning. They have cereal, svenhards pastries, apples, oranges, bananas, yogurt, coffee, tea, hard boiled eggs etc and a juice machine. Much appreciated for kids who have to save their pennies for souvenirs and other food experiences.
WIFI is included with stay. The kids were able to work on their homework at night. There is a Trader Joes up the street and also a hamburger restaurant across the street. Be careful walking around at night. I recommend walking in groups. This is not the safest of neighborhoods, so once we were in for the evening, we were in. The kids were honestly so tired from the drive, that they went to bed straight away.
Day 1: TIP: Parking can be tricky early in the morning. We parked in a car garage close to the gym. It was about a 5 minute walk to campus. The parking was on Bancroft Street. The picture above is the Life Sciences building at Berkeley. You can definitely tell that sciences get a lot of money! The building is amazing! One of the science buildings has a full size dinosaur skeleton.
This skeleton is worth seeing if you take a tour at Berkeley. If you go on the official tour, you definitely will stop by the dinosaur.
Lots of trees around campus, be careful for those crazy squirrels! Wear comfortable shoes. The tour guides walk backwards on the whole trip! It’s crazy!
With the official tour, you will be walking with a group of about 30. The kids mentioned that they would have maybe had a better experience hearing a tour from a kid that we knew. They felt that the tour was too planned and to large to freely ask questions. Between my colleague and I, we have plenty of former students to ring up for a impromptu tour. We had a couple students meet up with us just to say “hello”. Occupy Berkeley happened to be going on. Our kids got a small taste of what Berkeley is like. Berkeley is the home of the “Free Speech Movement”
After Berkeley, we piled back into the car and drove to USF (University of San Francisco). As soon as we got there, we met up with my colleague’s former AVID students. It was exciting to see my colleague get so excited to see her former students. We went to the brand new cafeteria. Pictured below is a taste of the new setting. The cafeteria was gorgeous, modern and clean.
USF is a private school. It is also a Jesuit School. Here is their Mission Statement:
“Our vision, mission and values statement is the best expression of USF’s mission. It’s a detailed and carefully constructed document, but what it boils down to is relatively simple: USF exists to provide arigorous, world-class education to a new generation of leaders, who will work to create a more humane and just world.”
The Campus is gorgeous. A lot of the students assumed that it would be smack in the middle of San Francisco. They were surprised to see the school on top of a hill in a more “manicured” area of the city. If you are expecting the school to be city like, its almost in its own type of setting. The houses surrounding the area are nice and you have a great view of Twin Peaks from one of the highest points on campus. If you go walk around, make sure you peak your head into the Church of St. Ignatius.
It was hard to snap a proper photo of St. Ignatius at this time of day on my iphone.
The kids mentioned that food prices were expensive. I did however notice that the food ingredients were great quality. I purchased a panini and sat down with my colleague and her former students and we chatted about life. The high school kids got a chance to sit down in the cafeteria away from us and tried to blend in with the college kids.
Next Stop, San Francisco State University where my former student gave us a FANTASTIC TOUR and did a good job selling the school to all of us.
The kids and I were pleased to hear about SFSU receiving money in a time of budget crisis. The school was one of the only schools on our tour to talk about improvements to their campus. Pictured here is their new library that is probably open by now.
SFSU really stands out as a school that embraces diversity. You can see a picture of Cesar Chavez in the background. The cafeteria and this building is named after Chavez.
Pictured above is the dorms that most freshman live in. They appear to be in pretty good shape and really nice. We didn’t get a chance to go inside, but they looked very nice from the outside. Apparently SFSU students really decorate their windows with post it notes and in pretty cool designs.
My former student on the far right all grown up! He impressed the students with his knowledge of the campus and enthusiasm. His friends tagged along and also helped out. They were fantastic! Off to Stanford before nightfall, hopefully.
We met up with a former student of mine and she helped us walk around Stanford for about an hour. She walked around with her bike and literally answered questions and talked to the kids about her experience. First stop, library.
Yes, GOOGLE was created at Stanford, here is proof to show all of us! Amazing brains and talent are fostered at Stanford. My former student kept telling us about the pioneering spirit at Stanford.
Gorgeous church on campus. I heard something about Leland Stanford building this church for his son. I still haven’t researched it entirely yet. There definitely is a Spanish feel to the campus. The plaza area here is gorgeous. Next Stop, SLEEP!!!!!!!!!! Drove to Santa Clara and stayed at a hotel close to Santa Clara University.
Santa Clara’s campus is absolutely stunning. It exudes serenity and peace. The campus is spotless and there tends to be a feeling of focus and responsibility. This is one of the missions in California.
You can get a pretty good feel of this campus by just glancing at the pictures I provided. All the facilities are newer. They have a robot that gets books for you in the library. Pretty crazy! Random Fact, you will take approximately 9-15 more classes before you graduate because of their quarter system. This really allows for you to do a double major and more minors. It also allows for you to really find what you are passionate about.
The Cafeteria here was also new like USF’s. This sandwich shop was extremely popular and super efficient. The line looked deceiving, but it actually went pretty quick. Our kids complained again that food was expensive. There were higher quality ingredients being used here. Next stop, UC Santa Cruz.
My good friend Paul who is a TA at Santa Cruz for the math department. He was gracious to take time out of his schedule to give us an in depth tour. THANKS PAUL! He told us about a rare white albino squirrel that lives in the forest of the school. He also told us about banana slugs, class choices, and safety. Apparently, UC Santa Cruz has a great safety rating compared to other UC’s. I got quite scared thinking of what it would be like to literally walk to my dorm at 10:00 P.M at night alone and he said people do it all the time. The school is situated in the middle of a forest. One way in to this school and one way out. Very outdoorsy feel. Ran into a former student while walking around. Bought a Banana Slug sweatshirt! Next step, Cal State Monterrey Bay.
This campus literally used to be Fort Ord. My dad was stationed here for awhile. He told me how it gets really cold here. The buildings are all fairly new. Super close to the beach. Lots of outdoor activities. This is definitely a campus where most students have cars which means it is a commuter school. They had a unique car rental service for students here. They told me that if you wanted to borrow a car, you literally just pay for gas. Lots of kids go and visit other friends at Chico or close by.
The visitor center was super nice for Cal State Monterrey Bay. They had restrooms, brochures, free chapstick with Cal State Monterrey Bay logos on them. The girls working the front desk were super nice. Off to Cal Poly Slo for the evening.
Yes, that’s right a BOWLING ALLEY! Yee haw. We bowled with the kids for the evening and had a great time. Some of the students played Dance Dance Revolution and hung out at the arcades. Some air hockey matches took place too! We drove towards Santa Barbara and stayed there for the evening. Didn’t take pictures of UCSB. I’ve been there too many times and was feeling a bit tired. Pictured below is at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Pictured below is Pepperdine University. A way of life at this school is walking up a lot of stairs. It is a Christian college. They have pretty set rules here. One of the most beautiful campuses in the U.S.
It is hard to tell from this picture, but the views from the cafeteria are AMAZING! You literally feel as if you are in Greece or the Mediterranean. Stunning views of the ocean. Last stop before going back to San Diego, Chapman University.
Chapman is a private. Close to Disneyland. Super clean, quaint and SO CUTE! The town of Orange feels like you are stepping back into the 50’s. Cute boutique shops, restaurants and a gorgeous east coast looking school. One of my former students is a film major and loves it here. Great connections with Disney if you want to go here.
TIRED………………..We got home around 7:00 Pm to 8:00 Pm…..Long trip, but SOOOOO WORTH IT! I appreciate my colleague for her driving and for inspiring these kids to choose their colleges wisely. So much fun!