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Parents' Advice about Various Colleges
Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Teens, Preteens, & Young Adults > Parents' Advice about Various Colleges
Colleges in California - Advice
My daughter is a high school senior interested in studying fashion design in college. She already has done two excellent internships in the field and is sewing some of her own clothes. I am a single mom with a limited budget and she is a mediocre student academically. She has a passion for artistic things but not for sitting at a desk or in a library studying and writing. I'm wondering if anyone has any advice about where we might look for colleges that offer fashion design in a very hands-on sense and practical experiences like internships, but that don't require a 3.0 GPA and lots of money. We're willing to consider community college, but my daughter would like to leave the Bay Area (we know about College of Alameda) and be part of a new environment. We're not familiar with Southern California, but would consider something there if we could get some recommendations. We're aware of FIDM and other highly recommended schools, but they are expensive and don't offer good financial aid. We also would consider something overseas, where tuition appears to be reasonable at fashion schools. But we don't know one school from another there. Any tips, including someone to contact for further advice, would be appreciated. anonymous
San Francisco City College http://www.ccsf.edu/NEW/en/educational-programs/school-and-departments/school-of-business/fashion.html
UC Davis http://admissions.ucdavis.edu/majors/major_view.cfm?major=atxc
Maybe she could go to SF City College and transfer to Davis. Anon
I am hoping some parents of older teens have some experience with Willamette University and University of Puget Sound. And Salem vs. Tacoma, if you have lived in either city.
My son was accepted to both (yay!), but he is paralyzed in making a decision between them. Both are very good, small, liberal-arts schools, not too far from a big city. (Willamette in the capital of OR and an hour from Portland; Tacoma just south of Seattle.) My son wants to study history and possibly participate or minor in theater.
My take is that Willamette has a more robust theater scene, while Puget Sound has a bigger focus on music. It also seems like there are more business and psychology majors at Puget Sound, and more humanities majors at Willamette. Are those correct impressions? I think he'd like Willamette's location, which is walkable to a downtown area, over Puget Sound's more suburban setting.
Anything I'm missing, especially around the types of students on campus and the general campus vibe? Does it rain that much more in Tacoma over Salem?
My son is intellectual, quirky, and funny. He is into Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer and would like to take up LARPing in college, etc. So, the outdoorsy stuff like kayaking and rock climbing isn't necessarily a plus. Thanks for any insights.
My son is also kind of quirky, and he has made wonderful friends and feels right at home at Willamette. The Willamette kids are sweet, they don't seem jaded or judgmental. It's a very welcoming place. His relationships with professors are close.
If you are able, I would suggest a trip north for your son to spend the night at each campus. My son did that, and came away feeling strongly that Willamette was the place for him. But again, I think both schools are very strong and he will be happy with whichever one he chooses. Willamette Mom
My son, a junior in high school, is passionate about jazz drumming/percussion and wants to study this in college. Does anyone know of resources-people or advisors or websites etc-that might help him figure out how to go about navigating the college applicationprocess? The high school counselor does not seem all that knowledgeable about this pathway. Thanks. Musician mom
Check out the about.com site for Young Adults. There is a big section on applying to music schools. http://youngadults.about.com/od/collegeprep/a/conservatory.htm Cayford
There was also a workshop at the Jazzschool in Berkeley about college jazz programs - not sure if it will be repeated.
Our son's private music teachers were really helpful as well, particularly around preparing for auditions.
Good luck to you and your son! jazzmom
Music is a wonderful thing to have in your life, but like most entertainment and arts fields, it's a terribly hard way to make a living. Even the ones who want it most aren't always able to do so. Most music professionals either tour all the time and are never at home, or teach music, or are underemployed. If it were my child, I would want him to be realistic about it as a career, and encourage exploration at college of at least a few other interests. On the other hand, when better than your twenties to travel around a lot? Good luck with this!
My 17-y-o son, who will be entering his senior year of high school, is interested in studying restorative justice in college. He found out about a program at University of Montana - Western that looks very good to him. We have not been able to go out there, and are wondering if any other schools offer this type of program. Recommendations of other colleges with criminal justice programs (not necessarily restorative justice) are appreciated also. mom of idealist
Eastern Mennnonite is one of the first: www.emu.edu/cjp/restorative-justice/
A few more to check out: www.suffolk.edu/college/1496.html and cms.skidmore.edu/campusrj/tra.cfm micky
My teen is looking for sound engineering/audio engineering-type programs at California community colleges. Unfortunately we're having a hard time finding which campuses have them and which ones are good. Partly, they're buried within music departments and partly there doesn't seem to be a good search tool across campuses for relatively obscure programs like this. Anyone know of a good resource or have personal information? Also interested in similar info on any Cal State/CSU campuses. Thanks! Music Dad
You don't mention whether your child is male or female, but The Women's Audio Mission in San Francisco is a fantastic resource for women who want to learn more about or advance within the areas of audio engineering and production.
What are some strong (academically) liberal arts colleges that are not too isolated geographically (near an interesting town) and not in a very cold climate. Our daughter would like to go to such a school and she is a good student but wants a smaller school. anon
Hi all, I'm looking for advice or recommendations on non-traditional colleges. My son is an independent-minded individual, very intelligent but has not really thrived in traditional academic settings with an emphasis on performing primarily to achieve a grade. A small environment, with a course of study that's more integrated and project based might, I think, work for him. He's definitely not interested in a school in Southern California or in a large urban area. I've been looking at Evergreen State College in Washington and would love some feedback. Or, if you have other suggestions that would be great. Thanks! Searching for the right fit
We did the typical college search tour, but it was pretty clear that none of the larger colleges would be right for her. We were lucky to stumble on Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. So far it's been perfect! It's relatively small (e.g. ~6000 students) and in a very nice town. It's a teaching college, not a research college, so the faculty are very in-tune with what the students need to learn.
This is not to say she hasn't had challenges. She has, but they have been the normal kinds of problems that most kids face when they're away at college for the first time. She's still very positive about SOU, and so are we. Satisfied So Far
oh, forgot to mention, no grades at St. John's. But not project-based either... everyone is on the same curriculum, reading all the great books, and graduates with a philosophy major & math minor, with deep science, music, Greek and French languages, very integrated.
Another small college to check out is Colorado College in Colorado Springs. They are project-based, on the block program (1 class at a time, in depth.) Kristen
That book is a great start (Evergreen is one of the schools in the book. I have been a proponent of alternative education since I was in high school many, many years ago. I went to Antioch College (Yellow Springs, OH), but can't recommend that school at the moment - maybe in a few years.
Wesleyan University http://www.wesleyan.edu/, while not in the book is a wonderful school that attracts more ''alternative'' students. It's in Middletown, CT.
We know a couple of kids who attend Clark in Massachusetts (it's in the book, above). They wanted the type of school you are looking for and have been quite happy.
Finally, some of the colleges that were originated by the Quakers are all pretty open-minded. Haverford and Swarthmore (both in the same consortium) are two I can definitely recommend. See: http://www.quaker.org/colleges.html
While some of these schools are more difficult to get into, they also don't place 100% emphasis on grades and SATs. The interviews and essays can really help, especially at a school that he would most likely be interested in.
My daughter goes to Bryn Mawr (still all-women) and it is part of the Haverford/Swarthmore consortium. Those students are quite well-rounded and interested in helping the world - not just ''book-learning''.
If finances are an issue, I think that Evergreen is one of the few state schools that is ''alternative''. However, most of the more ''open-minded'' schools seem to be need-blind, too, as they want to have a diverse student body.
Here is one of a few online lists of schools that don't require SATs but not all of those schools are alternative. http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional
This should get you started. Good luck. I have 20 year old twins and their senior year was quite a year - both exciting and stressful. Elizabeth
My daughter is interested in going to a culinary school but would also like to attend a good college and get a Bachelor's Degree. If you know of a school with a good reputation in both, or another way to combine the two, please let us know. It seems that a choice has to be made between one or the other. Mother of a baker
Cornell Hotel School, The Culinary Institute of America Create Collaborative Degree Program January 10, 2006
Ithaca, N.Y., January 9, 2006 - The Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) have created a collaborative degree program for students seeking a preeminent education in hospitality management and the culinary arts. Students who complete this intensive program will earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Hotel Administration and an Associate in Occupational Studies (A.O.S.) degree in Culinary Arts.
Might be a possibility for your daughter. Mary in Oakland
Here are some other things she has investigated (none in the West though, maybe too far for your daughter). You might also want to contact Karen Rogers who started the Sprouts Cooking Club here in Berkeley. The program is for younger kids, but she is probably a good resource for advice http://culinarykids.org/
CIA (Culinary Institute of America) - very prestigious for training chefs - in Poughkiepsie NY. CIA now offers a bachelors degree program. I think people need some work experience prior to enrolling at CIA. There is also a CIA type school in Michigan - not sure where.
Also Drexel U in Phillie offers culinary studies and Drexel is known for its co-op/intern programs.
One other summer program that includes cooking is through a program run by Julian Krinsky. They use space at one of the Phillie colleges - Bryn Mawr I believe
Good Luck- Sarah
My daughter is single-mindedly focused on music, playing electric guitar and becoming a famous rock musician. She skates by in high school. We're strongly encouraging her to apply to college/community college as a ''back up plan'' but she is unsure. She does not read music, so music as an academic plan/major seems unrealistic. We've been looking into programs in audio recording and sound engineering as a way to help her to see opportunities in continuing her education.
Do you have advice on (a) where to look for programs like this at public universities and/or community colleges (i.e. don't suggest hard-to-get-in schools where she wouldn't get in or Ex'pressions College in Emeryville which lists tuition of $80k per year), (b) suggestions for learning more about this as a career path -- e.g. current volunteer or internship opportunities, classes a high school kid could take now, mentors? Thanks! Anon
It's true that most college/university music departments will turn up their noses at an applicant who doesn't read music. But there are two responses to that, both true: Not all successful musicians learn their trades at universities; and no musician should refuse to learn to read and write music.
I was thinking between cues as I sang in a chorus on the stage of the Paramount Theatre this evening: when young people say they're contemplating a career in music, they're told it's a hard way to make a living. What they're not told is, that's true of every line of work, from professor to plumber. Every violinist, every trumpeter, every cellist, every flutist, every percussionist in the orchestra accompanying us was probably a couple of gigs, a couple of students, or a day job away from poverty; but so am I, and so are many people I know.
So while I can't recommend a school for your daughter, I would strongly encourage her to learn to read and write music, and to ask her fellow musicians about possible mentors. If she doesn't have fellow musicians to ask, that's another big problem and she'd better start fixing it right now.
Learning to read and write will demonstrate that she's serious about her craft and will vastly expand her opportunities and the number of possible mentors. And it's not that hard. She could learn it in six weeks. It's mostly a matter of practice. John
I don't agree. There are some professions, such as plumber, where anybody with skill can make a living. This might also be true for some computer-related professions. Musicians, on the other hand, can be recognized virtuosi and still not be able to make a living from music. (I grew up in the part of Los Angeles where all the hot studio musicians lived. There were more virtuosi per square mile than anywhere else in the world. Yet, only a disappointing few were actually able to make a living as a musician.) Jon
We have ongoing internship opportunities for rock musicians all day Sunday at both Renegade Studios in San Rafael and Lennon Studios in San Francisco. Here she would not only have a chance to learn from highly regarded professional musicians like Joshi Marshall (The Joshi Marshall Band) and John LoGiudici (Echo Beach) but also coach the up and coming next generation of legendary Bay Area musicians which would give her a real, marketable skill. This internship could in turn lead to a paid internship at our extraordinary YPI Summer Rock Camp experience which culminates in a public rock concert at San Francisco's iconic Cafe Du Nord.
A year or two of interning at YPI could be just what your daughter needs to help her figure out a realistic life plan as a working musician. We have seen it again and again in our students and interns.
Please check us out on the web at www.youngperformersintl.org, or give me a call at 415 420 2960 if you'd like to find out more about our internship program. All the best, Leela Pratt Executive Director Young Performers International
Does anyone have experience with Deep Springs College? My son has his heart set on going there, but we don't know anyone with personal experience. I read a Vanity Fair article (posted on the Deep Springs website so they must not totally disagree) which made it sound a little quirkier than may work for my son. mom of high school senior
It is an incredible school, where young men are trained for lives of leadership in whatever field they choose to pursue. Yes, it is quirky, in that there are only 24 (male) students, it is a non-degree-granting two-year institution, the students must participate in physical labor, and the students run the school. There are demanding academics coupled with strict, student-chosen and sanctioned rules of behavior, including no alcohol or drugs on campus (which basically means the entire high-desert valley). There are no interscholastic athletics. It is certainly not for every teen.
This said, if the life of the mind and of the rugged outdoors appeals to your son, if he has explored the DS website, read the Fiske and other college guides and feels that DS is calling to him, by all means, he should apply. I imagine that the folks at DS can put him (and you) in touch with alums and parents of alums to answer any questions he/you might have. If it is too quirky for him to continue with the application process, he will discover this in his conversations.
DS alums end up leading interesting lives--they go from DS to the Ivies, to Stanford and other top schools, they pursue lives of service and exploration. My brother's classmates and the other alums I have met are admirable men. I would have liked to have gone to DS myself, but I am female. The possibility of DS going coed is an ongoing discussion amongst the students and Board of Trustees, and it may happen in the near future.
Good luck with the college search! DS sister
Ex'pressions in Emeryville bills itself as a college offering a BA degree. However, it really looks like a vocational school training students in animation, media, and audio engineering. I have nothing against vocational schools, but Ex'pressions seems to be offering a token history class here or there as a way of claiming to offer a full BA.
Am I off base here? If you have experience with Ex'pressions, could you share how it really works? My daughter is interested and I am skeptical. Anon
My mom passed your post on to me because I'm going to Ex'pressions College and I'm Majoring in Sound Arts. I just started my 3rd term (a term is 5 weeks long). Each term I take two classes. I love it! I'm learning a lot and the teachers are really good and well qualified. Most importantly they are all willing to work with students individually if needed. The classes are small, giving the teachers time to work with each student.
Ex'pressions is accredited and I will get my BA. In the Sound major we don't even get to take a sound class til the second academic year, after GEs. Right now I have taken an Analytical Writing class, an American History class, and one of the common core classes in which my group made a short 7min video start to finish.
I know that Ex'pressions is a big commitment and my parents made me do a lot of work to prove that I wanted to go, because its not that kind of school where you can go and then play around.
While going here I have worked really hard. The classes are only 5 weeks long. Missing too much class time (including being late, or leaving early) means failing the class. Students have to stay on top of our homework if we want to pass the classes.
I love this school! During the year I took off after high school I learned that things were not handed to me in life like they had been in high-school, I learned that I have to work for what I want - I have to earn it! I have made friends quicker here than anywhere else. I love being in the environment that the school gives us to learn and work in.
I know this is long, I'm sorry about that. But I tell you all of this because I want you to know what I went through to get into the school because in a way it prepared me (and I hated my mom for making me do it), but now I see that it was the right thing. I know its a lot of money to put into a mainly vocational school but they do offer GE's & I have learned a lot from the two that I have taken so far.
I hope this helps. Good luck. Danielle
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