We didn't ask why a small liberal arts school in Meadville Pennsylvania calls its sports teams the Gators, assuming the double alliteration assonance then alliteration (doh) and rhythmic echoes of Allegheny and alligator the reason. Despite the stupid, we, and more importantly Planet, despite expecting not to from our drive-thru the night before, really liked the place.
Best: there are no core courses, but students must, at a minimum, major/minor (they can major/major), and the major and minor (or second major) cannot be from the same area of study: if you major in a social science (or natural science or humanities), you must major/minor in one of the other two. The cleverest way I've seen to guarantee a traditional liberal arts education.
It was also the first time this trip that Planet, who had scheduled the interviews herself, was interviewed by an actual Admission's officer rather than a rising senior. I was shocked - stupidly, I'm told - when a rising senior interviewed Planet first at Oberlin, then Kenyon, then Hamilton; that's standard operating procedure, I'm told.
I understand the interview serves mostly to show the potential student's level of interest in the school, but fuck that. I understand Oberlin and Kenyon and Hamilton don't give a flying fuck whether Planet applies or not, but Allegheny (and Earlham and Gettysburg) do. That's worth something, and if the cache an Allegheny degree defers isn't as cha-ching as an Oberlin degree, I'm not at all convinced the education and experience Allegheny delivers isn't as good if not better than Oberlin's. Or is this loser talk?
So we just walked out of the Admission's officer's office (he interviewed Planet for 45 minutes then brought me and Earthgirl in for another half an hour) when my cell vibrates, and it's Landru. He and Ilse are speed vacationing in Niagara Falls and then Toronto, which to get to requires them to I-79 north through Meadville Pennsylvania - they're sitting in a Ponderossa Steak House just off the interstate. SHAZAM! a twenty minute meet and greet! Heh. Luckily, they'd already eaten, sparing us. The cheerful, toothless, tongue-plugged waitress thought it charming.
We're home. I think we're done with first visits except for Carleton, in Minnesota, where Earthgirl went to school, which we'll (or at least Planet and Earthgirl will, depending on expense) fly out to see this fall. Planet will decide in the next month or so which schools she wants to do an in-semester overnight.
If I had to guess I'd say she wants to do all of them, which is to say that after all the visits of the last year, she's no closer to knowing where she wants to go than before we started. I say this sincerely: excellent.