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Sarcasm's avatar

What can I do to narrow down my search for a university?

Asked by Sarcasm (16793points) June 14th, 2010

I’m a community college student in San Diego, I’ve been living in various parts of SD county since I was 7. And I’ve hated the San Diegan weather since I was 8. I have no specific career or major goal, but I’ve been working my way towards something computer-related.

I’m looking to get out of the heat, the dry, and the wildfire. Into the cool, the rain, and the lush plantlife. Preferably not so far out of the heat that I’ll be shoveling snow for 5 months out of the year.

And I refuse to spend another summer here in SoCal.
Unfortunately, “Not in SoCal” is a very vague location.

I don’t have the resources to go road tripping all around to see what feels right. I have extended family in the New England area. I don’t know anybody in the Pacific Northwest, though.
And even if I google something like “colleges in Kings county, WA” I’ll get a result with ~16 colleges which I know nothing about; if they’re tech-oriented, how expensive they are, if they’re religiously based, etc.

So what can I do to narrow my search for “Any college not in the South or Southwest” down to “College in X area”, and eventually down to “X college”?
Any resources or just questions to help me brainstorm would be greatly appreciated.

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15 Answers

MacBean's avatar

Start here. That can probably help you get from “Any college not in the South or Southwest” to “College in X area.”

jrpowell's avatar

Oregon State University rocks. And they have a kick ass tech department. You could drive home in a day and the weather is rain but it snows one day a year. It is a fantastic school.

I went to the UofO and we were rivals with OSU. I don’t care about sports so I went about my day. But OSU is a good school and the town (Corvallis) is a damn fun town.

perspicacious's avatar

Go to extreme northern California; it’s cool and pleasant and wet there most of the year. It will be to your advantage to stay in the California system as an in-state student. I don’t know any schools up in that area other than Humboldt State. I do think I remember there being another school. Also, California is part of a group of states that charge in state tuition for all students in that group of states. Check that out. That’s my suggestion.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Take it from me, you probably want to stay in-state because the out-of-state tuition thing is a massive rip-off and, IMO, pretty messed up. I don’t think students should be punished for choosing a school that is the best for them and it’s an easy way for universities to make money. California is cool in that if you end up not liking your school in another state and want to finish in CA, as long as you’ve attended high school in CA for 3 years (including freshman year), you qualify for an out-of-state tuition waiver. Most other states, you’d be screwed and have to pay out-of-state tuition after returning.

Oregon and Corvallis are cool, no doubt. I don’t mean to discourage your move, but I have a lot of experience in this area, in that I lived a semi-nomadic existence for the past 10 years and have attended more schools than I care to admit. If your parents are paying for school and they don’t care, by all means go to whatever school strikes your fancy. If you are paying for your schooling (and/or taking out loans), keep in mind that at an out-of-state school, you will become 3x-5x more in debt than you would in Cali.

That said, I would look at northern California. We have some great schools and a climate more like what you’re looking for. Humboldt is a really cool area, as well as the Bay Area. Take a look at UCSC, as well, though that’s considered central CA. In SC, the climate is warm-temperate in the summer (like 70’s-80’s), you have beaches and mountains, a really cool community, and the winters are also quite temperate. Rain is pretty much what you get in the winter along the central and northern coast. When you go further inland, you face hot temperatures and potentially very cold winters, as well. It just kind of depends on what the micro-climate is like in that area.

janbb's avatar

There are several good college selection sites on the web., and embark,.com will all aid you in narrowing down college selection by field of interest and geographical location. As others have mentioned, there is a lot to be said financially for staying in Cali, but it can be a great experience, if you can afford it, to go to a completely different part of the country. In addition, your local public or communtiy college library will have several college guide books such as Barron’s or the Princeton Review, or the Insider’s Guide to Colleges that will give you narrative descriptions of various universities.

If you want to stay in Cali, Santa Cruz is supposed to beautiful, would be a more temperate clime and has a good CS department. In the Northwest, I have heard good things from friends about University of Washington and Univesity of Puget Sound. Evergreen is a quirky, smaller school in Washington.

marinelife's avatar

Why not pick an area of the country (the Northwest sounds like a good match for your climate desires), and then research theschools there?

john65pennington's avatar

The perfect universtiy and the perfect weather and conditions you are looking for await you at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. we have the four seasons change of weather. we have the greenest of the green states in beatiful roadside landscaping. the fall brings beautiful colors to the changing leaves. we have more sunshine that the state of Florida. and the women at Vanderbilt are bad to look at, either. some are gorgeous. you will be making a great choice.

deni's avatar

i really think looking for a college without having a major or a real goal in mind is pointless. i tried to do it and i failed horribly. i’m not in a rush to finish anymore, and i have no major still, so when i find a major, then i’ll look at schools that are good for that major in an area that i want to be.

also, if you want out of southern california, you should just move. you don’t have to start school right away. at least find out if you like the place enough to live there for a few years once you’re committed to school. and in a lot of states it’s cheaper after you’re a resident which usually means living there for a year so…think about dat.

perspicacious's avatar

@john65pennington It gets very hot there. He’s trying to get away from that. so am i

nikipedia's avatar

I will second the suggestions to stay in CA and go public because of money. So this limits you to the UCs and Cal State schools. Getting out of So Cal means your UC options = Santa Cruz, Davis, Berkeley. CSU options = East Bay, Humboldt, Monterey, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, Sonoma.

Allie's avatar

Keep in mind that if you go anywhere out of state you’ll have to pay out-of-state tuition. I’d also suggest HSU based on what you mentioned liking weather-wise. I have friends who went to HSU and they absolutely loved it. You’re practically in the redwood forest and the Pacific Ocean is a 10 minute drive away. It rains, it’s cool year round, the chance of wildfire is slim… although you may still feel a few earthquakes.
As for the major part of it, just researchresearchresearch. You need to look at the programs that are offered at whatever school you choose. I know HSU has a lot of nature/wildlife/environmental programs, but I’m not sure how their computer programs are. In this sense, you might want to, and it would be a good idea to, research even the out of state colleges like Oregon St. Uni. or the Uni. of Oregon. They’re bigger colleges (I think) and probably have a wider range of programs. It does rain a lot in the PNW, but they have the best summers ever… or so I’ve heard from my friends at UO and UWash.
Happy researching, don’t get discouraged, and I’ll finish with this….
Go Ags!!
Btw, UC Davis, Berkeley and Santa Cruz still get hot summers. Santa Cruz still gets wildfires. CSU East Bay, Sacramento, San Jose, and maybe Sonoma still also get warm summers.

YARNLADY's avatar

What @Allie says is true for the summer months – it gets hot here, but believe me, it is nothing like the Santa Anna’s they have in San Diego. I lived there for nearly 10 years.

In Northern California the mornings start out very pleasant, and gradually build up to a hot afternoon, then cools down again a few hours after sundown, except for a few days (10 – 12 days) when the weather stays in the 100’s all day and night. Don’t let less than a dozen days scare you off.

I suggest Sonoma as the best of all locations, but does it have the academic programs you want?

Sarcasm's avatar

@perspicaciousAlso, California is part of a group of states that charge in state tuition for all students in that group of states.” Do you know if WICHE is the program you were thinking of? I’ve been playing around with the site a bit and it definitely seems awesome. I’m curious if you (or anyone else) knows what the process is for actually getting these schools to give me in-state prices. And also, how tough it is to get classes to properly get transferred.

@nikipedia I know UC and CSU schools get all the attention, but are there really no other noteworthy colleges in this big state?

My financial situation (since out-of-state fees were brought up, and because of something @deni mentioned) is that my parents will help me financially if I’m going full-time and doing decently. So unfortunately I cant really move somewhere to test the waters (or test the weather) without having to rush to get a job there immediately.
An in-state school (Which I guess would potentially include any school from that WICHE program) shouldn’t be a problem financially.

I want to thank everyone so much for the help. With these posts and the resources given, things seem to be clearing up a bit, and that is such a relief to not feel as overwhelmed.

janbb's avatar

The Claremont Colleges in Pomona are supposed to be excellent private colleges. Harvey Mudd is one of them and has a great CS program. Berkeley is obviously fantastic although all of the Cali public colleges are up the creek budget-wise now as you no doubt know.

YARNLADY's avatar

How could I forget the most beautiful place on earth – U C Santa Barbara

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