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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The College of New Jersey

If you want to go to a state college in New Jersey, but Rutgers feels way too big to you, there are plenty of other choices. The most academically challenging of your alternatives is The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), a school with an undergraduate enrollment of about 6000. TCNJ has a beautiful 289-acre campus in the suburbs with brick buildings, mostly in the Georgian style. The school has liberal arts, business, and education. The classes are small with the biggest class being 40 students and there are plenty of opportunities for research, internships, projects, and study abroad.

Everyone on your floor in the freshman dorm is in the same freshman seminar and there are 2 roommate switch dates just in case your freshman roommate doesn’t work out. Ninety-five percent of freshmen return for their sophomore year, while the average retention for state colleges is only sixty-seven percent. Popular activities include two big concerts per year; dances, concerts, movies, and parties; and free and low cost day trips to NY, Philly and Princeton. There are few classes on Wednesdays so clubs and sports meet then. It is easy to get involved but you need to be proactive about it. TCNJers are friendly, but it gets harder to meet people after freshman year.

I have one caveat for all NJ state colleges. With the NJ economy in the doldrums, state budget cuts may impact school quality, tuition, or a student’s ability to finish in four years.

For additional photos of TCNJ, check out the Slosberg College Solutions Facebook page.  If you have attended or visited TCNJ recently, share your impressions.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bryn Mawr College

If you’re considering a women’s college, Bryn Mawr may be right for you. The beautiful campus is in the Philly suburbs, and the nearby train will take you downtown in twenty minutes. The school has a fine liberal arts program with a high percent of graduates continuing for a Ph.D., a strict academic honor code, and strong educational and social ties to nearby coed Haverford. The student body participates heavily in travel abroad and almost the entire student body lives on campus.
When you consider Bryn Mawr, also look closely at Haverford since you have the opportunity to take classes there. Bryn Mawr also has relationships with Swarthmore and University of Pennsylvania.

The school was impressive, but the article that I subsequently read about our tour guide, Jomaira Salas, was inspiring. She is making a difference in the community.  If she is representative of the Bryn Mawr woman, you will be in good company.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Questions for Jewish students

If you are a Jewish student, you may be interested in the following information about the colleges you are considering:

1. Is there a Hillel? What kind of activities does it sponsor? How many students typically attend?

2. Does the school participate with other colleges in regional Jewish programming?

3. How many Jewish Studies classes are offered? Is Hebrew offered?

4. Are there travel abroad opportunities to Israel? Does the school sponsor a Birthright Israel trip?

5. What Jewish social, social action and arts activities are there?

6. Are there celebrations for Jewish holidays? Is there a Passover Seder?

7. What Shabbat and holiday services are there?

8. Is there a kosher meal plan? Is Kosher for Passover food available?

9. Are there Jewish opportunities in the surrounding community (e.g., work in synagogue, invitations to holiday dinners, attendance at services).

10. Are there Jewish alternate spring break opportunities?

To find the answers to these questions and more:

1. Review Hillel’s Guide to Jewish Life on Campus on for the colleges you are interested in

2. Check out college bulletin boards and see what Hillel activities are posted.

3. Check out the Hillel calendar of events

4. Visit the Hillel building or office.  Talk with the Hillel staff and students who frequent Hillel.

5. Try out the kosher food on campus.

6. Attend a Hillel activity.

7. If you stay on a Friday night, try out the Shabbat service and dinner.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

High School Guidance Directors Reflect on College Admissions

Catherine Angelastro,
Director of Guidance at
Watchung Hills Regional High School
Hillary Charney,
Director of Guidance at
Hillsborough High School

‘Tis the season for high school seniors to apply to college. New Jersey high school guidance offices are bustling with activity and have wisdom to share with families who are going through the college application process.


Catherine Angelastro, Director of Guidance at Watchung Hills Regional High School offers this advice, “Get applications in early. The earlier the better.” She also strongly recommends the use of Naviance scattergrams, which shows the GPA and SAT scores of students from the high school who were accepted and rejected at a particular college. “Naviance is a great reality check.”

“Start doing your homework [on colleges] in the sophomore year,” said Sean Siet, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Ridge High School. “Visit [the colleges]. Make sure you can fit in,” he continued. Mr. Siet also recommends that students “use Naviance.”

Students should “be willing to consider schools they haven’t heard of” in order to find “schools that are a better fit,” offered Hillary Charney, Director of Guidance at Hillsborough High School. “Go look at colleges. You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it,” she continued. 


In the last five years there have been a myriad of changes in the application process. The changes included more early action and early decision applications, rising application and college costs, additional of families applying for financial aid, increasing instant decision days on site, and a larger number of students taking the ACT, according to Sean Siet of Ridge High School.

Admissions have become “much more competitive”, according to Hillary Charney of Hillsborough High School. A lot of students are switching from private to public colleges because of the financial situation, and students are applying to more colleges. Some “students are applying to ten or more colleges,” she continued.

Catherine Angelastro indicated that many high schools, including Watchung Hills Regional High School, switched to a paperless application process. Once everyone learned the system, it made preparing applications easier and less expensive for the school district.


There are a lot of myths associated with college admissions. Hillary Charney indicated that some students mistakenly believe that if someone from Hillsborough High School got accepted at a particular college last year, no one from Hillsborough will get accepted at that college this year.

“Parents worry [unnecessarily] that there isn’t a college for Johnny”, Catherine Angelastro shared. She also indicated that some families incorrectly think that children of alumni get a free ride.

Applying to more colleges doesn’t guarantee you’ll get accepted to more colleges, shared Sean Siet.


Everyone knows that students and their families face many challenges in college admissions. The guidance office also face many challenges. Catherine Angelastro indicated that it is hard to be in the middle of the family financial situation. “Economics once planned, [families are] now unable to do”. Hillsborough High School tries to help parents get a better understanding of financial aid basics.

Sean Siet indicated that guidance counselors have to manage the family’s expectations. They need to make sure that students apply to target and safety schools, in order to avoid the situation where the student doesn’t get accepted into any college.

In this stressful season for New Jersey high school seniors, guidance counselors are a resource for students and their families. They “go on college tours” in order to give students first hand information, said Hillary Charney. They have relationships with college representatives from around the country, according to Sean Siet. They can help ease the transition from high school to college.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Villanova University

You might wonder what kind of student would be well-suited to Villanova University. My feeling is that a pre-professional Catholic student, heavily involved in community service, who likes big time college basketball, and who wants to be a short train ride away from Philadelphia would find Villanova University very inviting. Check out the Slosberg College Solutions Facebook page for my Villanova University photo album.
If you've visited or attended Villanova recently, share your impressions.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Columbia University

What makes Columbia University unique? Its location in Manhattan, combined with a rigorous and extensive core curriculum distinguish it. You might be surprised to find that Columbia has a beautiful, enclosed campus spread over six square blocks with green grass and trees, as well as a subway stop, making it easy for students to access the arts and internships in New York City.

Unlike many other colleges, the core curriculum is a set of specific courses, not just distribution requirements. The core curriculum consists of a third of the courses and ensures that all the students have a strong foundation in literature, the humanities, contemporary civilization, foreign language, and science.

Other than foreign language classes, there are few classes on Fridays, enabling students to take advantage of internships, community service opportunities, political activities, and museums. For those interested in sports, there is a gym with an indoor pool. Fields and most games are played in the Bronx, with free shuttle bus transportation provided.

While the cost of attendance is $56K per year, the school meets 100% of need, is need-blind, and excludes loans from its financial aid packages.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens Institute of Technology is a great choice for an engineering major who wants to go to a small school in or near a city and participate in Greek life.
The college is set on 55 acres on the Hudson River, overlooking the Manhattan skyline. It has a mix of old and new buildings in various styles, a gym with an indoor pool, fields for sports, and limited parking. It is just two blocks from a main street in Hoboken, New Jersey (a hot town featured in the TV show "Cake Boss") and walking distance to a train that will transport students to New York City in ten minutes.
Stevens has some great features including a free laptop for each student, lots of research opportunities, a co-op program, 5-year Bachelors/Masters programs, internships, externships, and excellent job placement.
Ninety per cent of the approximately 2200 students live on campus. Unfortunately for the men, only about a quarter of the class is female. Thirty per cent of the student body goes Greek. Students participate in 120 clubs, 26 Division III varsity sports (excluding football), intramurals, club sports, alternative spring break, and study abroad.
If you've visited Stevens Institute of Technology lately, share your impressions of the school. To see additional photos I took of Stevens, check out

Monday, October 18, 2010

What's new at college?

At the NJACAC meeting, the following colleges shared some "new" information:
  • Muhlenberg College is opening a new rehearsal hall for theatre arts, music, and dance. They will also be opening a new dining hall which will offer a kosher meal plan.
  • Columbia University went to the Common App
  • Duke University introduced a neuroscience major and a finance minor; they are building a new dorm on the west side of campus for upperclassmen.
  • Rutgers University had a record enrollment. Their experiment with students self-reporting their academic record on their college application was a success and some of the State University of New York (SUNY) colleges will adopt it. Many new dorms are in the works.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Financial Health of Colleges

I recently attended the New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling (NJACAC) program on "Admissions Trends". One trend is that a growing number of small liberal arts colleges are having financial difficulties. A panelist suggested that potential students and their parents be on the look for signs of poor financial health including:
  1. Significant deferred maintenance
  2. Faculty and staff layoffs
  3. Closed programs
  4. Dropping of varsity or extra-curricular activities
  5. Closed residence halls
  6. Downgraded bond ratings.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Questions for the Office of Disability Support

If you are a student with Learning Differences and/or ADHD, I recommend that you research and visit with the personnel in the departments that provide disability services at the college. These services may be in one department or spread over several departments with names like Disability Support Services, Office of Disability Support, Learning Support Center, and Academic Support Center. Think about what information you need to help you decide whether the program meets your needs.

Some questions you may have are:

  1. What is the philosophy of the program?
  2. How many professionals are on staff?
  3. What services, accommodations, workshops, and adaptive technology are available?
  4. What is the procedure for students to receive accommodations from a professor?
  5. How many tutors are on staff? Are they peer or professional tutors? How often can students be tutored? What subjects is tutoring available for?
  6. Are there organizational coaches?
  7. How many students are accepted in the program each year? How many apply?
  8. Is there a fee for the program? How much is the fee?
  9. How does the graduation rate for students in the program compare to the overall graduation rate?
  10. What documentation is needed to apply for the program? Is there a separate application for the program? Is an interview required?
  11. Is there an orientation before the freshman year?

What other questions would you ask?

I will be giving a talk on "College Support for Students with Learning Differences or ADHD" on Tuesday, November 16 at 7 pm in Somerville, NJ. For more information and to register, call 908.725.7799 or email

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

I was looking forward to my visit to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), because I used to work with a number of fine engineers who were WPI alumni.
Most students at WPI have a scientific bent with 58% majoring in engineering, 10% in natural sciences and math, 13% in computer science, 8% in business management, and 2% in the liberal arts.
Two things that distinguish WPI are its unusual academic calendar and its encouragement of collaborative learning. There are four 7-week terms and an optional summer term. Typically students take three classes per term or do a project. These 7-week terms also allow students the opportunity to travel abroad for up to three terms.
Students are involved in two required, real-world, hands-on projects. The interactive project is a team project which may be on or off campus, including numerous sites abroad. The major project is generally sponsored by a company, government agency, or non-profit organization. There is also an optional humanities or arts project available.
WPI students also play hard. They participate in 180 clubs and organizations. Two thirds participate in one of the 20 NCAA Division III teams, the NCAA Division I women's rowing team, 23 club sports, or 10 intramural sports. A new gym will be opening soon. Greek life is also popular with the student body, with one third joining a fraternity or sorority.
When applying to WPI, a student can submit SAT or ACT scores or take the alternate path by submitting a major project done during high school.
If this sounds intriguing, perhaps WPI is the college for you. If you have visited WPI or are a recent alumn, add your comments or photos. For more of my WPI photos, check out

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Clark University

Shortly after the Fall term began, I visited Clark University in urban Worcester, Massachusetts, an hour's drive from Boston.

Clark is the smallest liberal arts research university in the nation with about 2100 undergraduate and 550 graduate students. The school places equal emphasis on teaching and research. Undergraduates have plenty of opportunity to do research and to participate in one of the 33 travel abroad programs.

The college is well-known for its psychology and geography programs. Classes are small, averaging twenty students. The first year seminar professor becomes the academic advisor to the students in the seminar, until the students declare their major. Students, who complete their Bachelors degree with grade point of 3.25 or higher, can stay for a fifth year and pursue a free Masters degree.

While there is no Greek life at Clark, there is plenty to do. The most popular events of the year are the International Gala and Spree Day, a spring day when classes are spontaneously cancelled and replaced with a day-long carnival. Clarkies can participate in 108 clubs, 17 NCAA Division III teams, intramural sports, and a myriad of volunteer opportunities.

Clark University students live the school motto "Challenge Convention Change Our World." If you are a progressive student looking for an urban campus, where you can make a difference, Clark may be right for you.

I'd love for you to share your photos or experiences at Clark University. You can see my photo of the statue of Freud on the Clark University campus on or on the Slosberg College Solutions LLC Facebook page. Clark University, is the only U.S. college that Freud ever spoke at.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Muhlenberg College

In March, I visited Muhlenberg College, a small liberal arts college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church, located in a residential area of one-family homes in Allentown, Pennsylvania. While the school has a religious affiliation, ecumenism is the order of the day. One third of the students are Catholic, one third are Jewish and twenty percent are Protestant. The school calls itself "the caring college" because they feel the students and staff are warm, friendly and compassionate. The college's red doors are a Lutheran sign of welcome. Muhlenberg wants to "encourage students to live life to its fullest, do their best, be honest, deal openly with each other, and treat everyone as an individual."
The 2180 undergraduate students hail primarily from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Women outnumber men, as is often the case at liberal arts colleges. Most of the students are from middle and upper-middle class suburban families.
The school sits on eighty acres. In addition there is a forty acre arboretum and a forty acre wildlife sanctuary. Ninety-five percent of the students live on campus and eighty per cent stay on weekends.
Muhlenberg has small classes with only one percent having more than fifty students. Each freshman gets a first year advising team of four students and a faculty member. The college is strong in business, drama, dance, pre-med/biology, pre-law, English/writing, psychology, science, accounting and media/communications. All freshmen take a writing-intensive, discussion-intensive seminar capped at fifteen students. More than half the students study abroad for one or two semesters in their Junior or Senior year; they can choose from 150 programs in 35 countries.
You may be wondering what Muhlenberg students do for fun. Almost a quarter join one of the four fraternities or four sororities. They participate in some of the over one hundred clubs, intramural and club sports, or Muhlenberg's NCAA Division III Centennial Conference teams. Comedians perform every Thursday night. A capella groups and dance are popular. Students use the college shuttle to get to activities in Allentown including restaurants, bars, movies, bowling, ice-skating, and miniature golf.
Muhlenberg is selective and has a 37% acceptance rate with 60% of the students applying early decision. The college is SAT-optional; a graded paper and an interview can be used in place of the SAT.
Tuition plus room and board are $45,600. Sixty-five percent of students get some form of aid. Ninety four percent of need is met. Merit aid averaging $9,900, ranging from $1,000 to $16,000 per year is available for those scoring greater than 1600 on the SAT or 29 on the ACT.
There are additional photos of Muhlenberg College on my Web site. If you've visited Muhlenberg College recently or are a student there, share your thoughts on the college.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

College visits in late August or early September

It's best to visit colleges when class is in session. You get more of a feel for the school and its students.

If you have a colleges that you would like to visit now, find out when the Fall semester college classes resume. You can do this by calling each college or by going to their Website and searching for the "academic calendar". If the college classes resume before your high school opens, you may have an ideal opportunity to visit a few colleges which are in session in late August or early September.

A few colleges in the Northeast which begin classes before Labor Day are Clark University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Quinnipiac University, and the University of Connecticut.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lehigh University

In April, I walked the hilly campus of Lehigh University with its beautiful gothic architecture. Lehigh is a blend of liberal arts, business, and engineering in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. While the School of Liberal Arts is the largest, the university is best known for its business and engineering programs. Lehigh has small classes, with 72% of classes having fewer than 30 students. There are also about 200 study abroad programs in 60 counties available.

While I was on campus, I saw a group of mechanical engineering students, working with local middle school students, racing plastic molded injected cars that they had designed and built. I also saw students working on different research projects, including a wheelchair with audio controls. In the halls, I observed numerous Integrated Product Team project displays.

Venture capital of between $200 and $200,000 is available to students to translate their ideas into a business. One former student, now 28, went this route and currently has a $6 million business in aquarium filters.

Lehigh University has strong career placement. In 2009, 95% of students were placed within 6 months.

Social life at Lehigh is thriving as well. The school has Division I athletics, with a strong rivalry against nearby Lafayette. There are over 40 club and intramural sports. 37% of the student body is involved in Greek life. There are over 150 clubs. Music, theatre, and visual arts are popular, with practice rooms open to all students. While I was visiting Lehigh University, I saw one of the clubs in action. A group of students who meet weekly to do arts and crafts, were painting pottery.

Financially, Lehigh has loan elimination for families with incomes of less than $50,000 and loan reduction to families with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000. Merit scholarships are an automatic program with 5 - 8% of students receiving merit aid. Academic merit aid can be up to full tuition. If a student graduates Lehigh with 3.75 grade point, they get a 5th year free.
For another photo of Lehigh, check out the photo gallery on my Website. I'd love to hear your impressions of Lehigh University.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Questions To Ask on Your College Visits

The National Survey For Student Engagement (NSSE) provides a great, free guide entitled A Pocket Guide to Choosing a College: Questions to ask on your college visits,to choosing a college. I recommend that you use this guide when you are visiting colleges.

NSSE collects information from thousands of students at hundreds of colleges through a 4-page survey. Responses to the survey provide information about the quality of their college experience. Some colleges provide their NSSE results to prospective students, if asked or post results on their Web site. If the colleges you are considering share their results, you can learn a lot about the college by reviewing them.

Share what you discovered from using the pocket guide or the NSSE results.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


MIT is unique in many ways.

There are almost as many women as men, which is unusual for a school where a large percentage of the students are studying engineering.

Freshmen are integrated with upperclassmen in the dorms. Each dorm has a faculty Housemaster who lives in the dorm. Freshmen move in and then are given an opportunity to change their housing assignment. Each of the dorms has its own personality. They have options I haven’t seen elsewhere. There are dorms where you can smoke, keep a cat, and paint your room any color you like. All freshmen don’t have to take a meal plan. It’s optional at certain dorms.

Majors are referred to by numbers. Classes are not listed as being 3 or 4 credits. They are listed with units, which is how many hours a student is expected to spend each week in and out of class. Students spend hours working collaboratively on p-sets (problem sets).

The first semester is Pass – No Record.

There are great pre-orientation and orientation programs. Pre-orientation lets you discover an area of study in a fun way, often with a trip. Perhaps you’d like to Discover Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Yellowstone on your pre-orientation trip.

There is a 4-week term in January called the Independent Activities Period (IAP). It is a time to try something new for credit or not for credit. Maybe you’ll want to participate in the Mystery Hunt. You can attend a lecture series, participate in a seminar, do independent research or just extend your winter break.

There are a large variety of educational opportunities. Many freshmen get involved in research. There are opportunities to work in groups on world problems and to do research abroad.

MIT overlooks the Charles River. It is close to the Red Line of the subway so you can travel around Cambridge and Boston easily.

To see another photo of MIT, check out the photo gallery on my Web site. If you’ve visited or attended MIT, share your experiences.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Common App Available

For rising seniors eager to get started on your college applications, the 2010-2011 Common App is now available.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Drew University

In February 2010, with snow blanketing the ground, I visited Drew University, “the university of the forest”, in suburban Madison, New Jersey. This is one of a few small private liberal arts colleges in New Jersey. It is also an SAT-optional school. A graded high school project/paper can be supplied instead SAT scores. Drew provides each student with a free notebook computer.

Drew is famous for its theatre program and plays are written, directed and designed by students. There is a new arts building with art, theatre, and music wings. It includes an art museum and gallery, as well as performance spaces. The other popular majors are economics, political science, psychology, arts, biology, and English.

The general education requirements require an off-campus experience and travel abroad is very popular. There is a train from Madison to New York City and students take advantage of this for social and educational opportunities. There are four special programs, which take place two days a week in New York. They are the Wall Street semester, the United Nations semester, the Contemporary arts semester, and the Theatre semester.

Another special feature at Drew is the Dana Research Institute for Scientists Emerti (RISE) program. Retired science professionals have office space at college, do research and take students under their wing.

Students who want a liberal arts education in a small school with travel opportunities and interest in learning/socializing in NYC would be happy at Drew.

To see the rest of my photos of Drew University, check out my Web page.

If you visited or attended Drew University, share your experiences with us.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cheap College Travel in the Northeast

Need a cheap way to visit an out of town college or to get to and from college without a car? Consider the Bolt Bus which serves locations including New York, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

If you book early enough you may qualify for the $1 fare. If you take eight trips you get one free! The bus fare includes wireless internet.

If its slow by car because of inclement weather or holiday traffic, it will also be slow by bus.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

University of Miami

In January 2010, I left the cold of New Jersey and visited the University of Miami, which by the way is not in Miami. It's in Coral Gables. I was greeted by warm weather and students in bathing suits sunning themselves out on the lawn. The 260 acre campus was filled with lush green lawns, palm trees and a lake.

This private college of about 9500 boasts small classes (three quarters of classes have 25 or fewer students) and excellent programs in Business, Pre-Med, Communications, Theatre, Marine Science, Biology, Film and Jazz.

The student body was diverse in terms of states and countries represented, as well as ethnicity.

The college has an outstanding career center with resume/cover letter feedback, mock interviews, many internships, and many prospective employers. With today's slow economy this is a big plus. My husband interviewed students there for a Fortune 500 company and they were well-polished. They also have many merit scholarships!

Popular student activities included:
· Cheering on Division 1 Football, Basketball and Baseball teams
· Club sports
· Going to Coconut Grove and Miami
· Sunbathing
· Greek Life social events
· Attending movies which are screened 2x a week
· Hanging out at the Ratskeller on the outdoor gliders
· Free live music outside on the patio on Thursdays
· Using the $14 million fitness center which has exercise classes, a juice bar, personal trainers, and indoor and outdoor pools

The school provides free buses to take students around campus, Coconut Grove, Miami, and the Key Biscayne campus (for Marine Science). I think students really enjoy the stores and restaurants in Coconut Grove. The bus service is especially helpful to freshmen who can't keep cars on campus and for those who don't want to deal with the heavy traffic to Miami.

If you are wondering if you can get in, know that the Middle 50% SAT scores were 1250 – 1390 (Critical Reading and Math); ACT scores 28 – 31. Their Honors program is open to those in the top tenth of their high school class with an SAT score greater than 1360. There is also a 7-year medical program open to those with an SAT score of 1400 or an ACT score of 32.

Freshmen housing is in air-conditioned doubles in high-rise dorms, with shared bathrooms in the halls. While the building is co-ed, the floors are not. One plus is that a professor and his family live in each dorm and serve as the Resident Faculty Master.

If you are a pre-professional student or student concerned with job placement after graduation who wants a diverse school of about 10,000 students with small classes in a warm climate, near a big city, the University of Miami might be your dream school.

If you visited or attended the University of Miami recently, does this jive with your impressions? Do you have something to add?

Welcome to my blog

Welcome! Let's share info on colleges we've visited (or attended recently).

I started visiting colleges when my oldest son Jeff was in high school. I resumed my visits when my daughter Michelle starting looking for the college of her dreams. These days I visit colleges in support of my business Slosberg College Solutions LLC so I can provide the families I work with first hand information on colleges and universities. My website, has photos of some of the colleges I've visited to date.