I remember the first moment I pulled onto Campus Road onto the Wagner College Campus. I had spent the entire weekend in and around New York City touring all of the different schools I was considering attending. Not exactly sure what I was looking for--small campus, big campus, city school, suburban school--I went into the entire college search process with an open mind. Knowing that I wanted to work in the entertainment industry, I was consistently encouraged to "go out east" because "that's where that industry was." Which is true! Obviously I want to get my start in the industry where I plan on staying to pursue my career. Why would I spend 4 years in rural Minnesota (my home state) making connections when I was going to get up and leave when I completed my education and go somewhere where I don't know anyone and have no connections? I'd be stupid to do that. So I knew I needed to come out East near New York City--so I could intern and make connections with potential co-workers and companies while I was in school.
Based off of research, I came to New York to tour 3 different schools that had Arts Management/Arts Administration Programs. I flew into JFK and went straight from the Airport to LIU Post. LIU Post is a medium sized school with a BEAUTIFUL campus on Long Island, probably about 45 minutes to an hour away from the city. It was filled with Victorian aged houses and lots of open space for students to roam free. The school also had a great deal of diversity, which is important to me because I LOVE so many different types of people and cultures. My problem with this school is my tour was extremely long, dull, and I didn't get to speak with any admissions staff or get to know any information about the program I was interested in. Without that opportunity and information, I immediately checked that school off my list.
Before the next day of college visits, I went into the city to explore a bit.
The next day I went to tour my next school, which was Marymount Manhattan, which is in the Upper East Side of Manhattan with about 8,000 students and 2 academic buildings in 1 residence hall. While I knew I wanted a campus feel, I was also willing to sacrifice that for the ability to be immersed directly into the city and have endless opportunities to work and explore. I actually had a bit of a problem with this school right off the bat. Being from Minnesota, I didn't quite understand the concept of time as it related to traffic, so when I thought it would take 20 minutes to get from Times Square to deep in the Upper East Side, I was delusional. So I was running late to my tour and called them to let them know and they said that they would hold the tour (I mean come on, we've all been on 1,000 college tours and have they ever started on time anyway?).
However, when I arrived, I was told that the tour had left and I should come back later that day. UHM, I'M FROM MINNESOTA! I can't just COME BACK LATER! I had things to do! So after some stern toned speaking, we were given a brief tour by someone in the admissions office. The school had great facilities and an extremely dedicated student body, which is important to me because I wanted to be surrounded by people who would always inspire and lift me higher! I even got to speak with a professor of the department which is great because you don't get that everywhere. However, I knew this school wasn't the one for me. Although the tour was great, and the internship experience would've been amazing, I couldn't suffice for a 12 block walk between the dorms and the academic buildings and there didn't seem to be too much campus culture either.
After a weekend of visiting family throughout Jersey and New York it was time to tour my #1 Choice of the time, Wagner. Wagner is a small liberal arts school in Staten Island with a closed off campus and many great attributes. I arrived for my tour and was greeted by an outgoing student who was a Nursing major from Staten Island. She gave an exceptional tour, openly answering any question honestly. The tour took us around campus and into the dorms where the view was breath taking. On the tour, I felt a strong campus culture of community, really outgoing spirits meshing well together to create a great atmosphere. I knew a small campus setting like this with many on campus and off campus opportunities would really help me to grow as a person. I also had the opportunity to speak with an admissions counselor on site who was able to answer any more questions and give me all the information I needed.
As soon as I was in my car, I tweeted: I've finally found the school for me.