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lcuy Mar 13th, 2005 04:28 PM

Driving NYC to Boston also NYC- Philadelphia
I'm sitting here with my good friend who wants to take her daughter on a college tour later this month.

They're flying into NYC to see Columbia & NYU, then plan to visit Providence RI, New Haven CT, Middleton CT, Amherst, Boston and Poughkeepsie, NY. Also want to visit Philadelphia (U Penn & Swarthmore), then fly out of NYC.

She's on a very tight schedule- 5-6 days max. Would driving be the best bet for this, or would parts of it be done just as easily by train or bus?

If she drives, are there any roads to avoid? And is it best to rent a car somewhere outside NYC to avoid the city traffic?

All recommendations appreciated.

Nancy - on Lucy's computer :-))

lcuy Mar 13th, 2005 04:36 PM

OOps..I've been on this forum long enough to know where this should be posted...sorry!

rhkkmk Mar 13th, 2005 07:47 PM

the distances between philadelphia and boston are about 350-400 miles with nyc in the middle or slightly nearer to philadelphia....i drive boston nyc fairly frequently and it takes on average 4 hours...i use the merritt parkway from south of hartford to nyc (rte 15)--easy fact i leave in 11 hours to do that...

the ny airports are outside of the city of course and getting to and from them is a problem...i might suggest that she stay in mahattan for a day or two....take the train to new haven, visit yale, take the train to providence and visit brown and then up to boston and visit there....i would then fly on us air to philadelphia...

i don't think you can do it all in 6 days however....amherst in itself is a full day and poughkeepsie is off the track really...

what i outlined above would take 5-6 days to make the trip with very little time for visits....i think two trips or more time are necessary....

lcuy Mar 13th, 2005 11:59 PM

I should have known you'd come thru for us, even here on the Asia board! It is so hard to judge travel distances when you're from Hawaii, which has none.

Gpanda Mar 14th, 2005 03:11 AM

This is possible, but just barely. I disagree with Bob. I think you should rent a car. If you think two colleges per day, you could do NYU and Columbia in one day. Drive to New Haven (slightly more than an hour) in the evening, do Yale in the morning, drive up Interstate 95 (slightly more than an hour) and do Brown in the afternoon. Drive up I-95 to Boston (an hour). Do the Boston colleges in a day and drive to Amherst (two hours). If onl;y one college in Amherst, you could do that in the morning and drive to Vassar in the afternoon (hour and half). Drive to Philadelphia in the evening ( 3 hours). Penn(my alma mater) and Swarthmore. Drive back to NYC. It would be much like a forced march, buit it is possible by car. If you took the train, you would lose too much time waiting and your schedule would be limited. I do note that I skipped Weslyan. It would be interchangeabvle with Vassar on the way down. Or you could switch it for Brown on the way up.

Elainee Mar 14th, 2005 11:17 AM

Philadelphia has an airport. Swarthmore is on the Main Line train,so Penn and Swarthmore could be done without car if flying into Philly. Then train to NYC, do Columbia (Yea!!) and NYC and then start road trip. Could even drive to Yale or Middleton evening of NYC day. Columbia and NYU should not take full day. Fly back out of Boston. Do Vassar on the way to Boston or miss it.
Good luck!

rhkkmk Mar 14th, 2005 08:05 PM

gpanda---you can't drive that volvo that fast!!! your times are slightly short i think but not that far off....after the trip you describe these people would need a week at ROS in the tower rooms!!!
if you are not familiar with NE driving and the signage problems that we have, i don't see how anyone could do it honestly and see anything of the colleges....

mjs Mar 14th, 2005 10:44 PM

I think I will jump into this Asia travel question. First this trip will work better if you fly into Boston and return from Philadelphia or the reverse. This is like traveling in Italy as we skip to the European board. Best to do Venice than Florence than Rome or the reverse instead of flying in and out of Rome.
I also think that it will be quite difficult to see 10 or more different Universities in 5 or 6 days in 8 different cities. This would hold especially true if you want to fly in and out of NYC.
A few more thoughts about your individual destinations. First with Philadelphia, the U of Pennsylvania is in west Philadelphia and easy to get to from center city by Cab. Swathmore on the other hand is out in the burbs and you can get there by train and taxi. Taxi from center city would I think be expensive but doable. Could do both Universities in one day.
Philadephia to NYC is about 90 minutes by train. Could drive it in similar time if there is no traffic on the NJ turnpike or your choice of tunnel or bridge to get into the city. This drive is not necessarily simple and you do not need a car in NYC so I would advise the train.
Can do both NYU and Columbia in one day.
Would have to drive to get to Poughkeepsie and Middleton and have never been to either so I am little help with these schools. I would think it might be difficult to do both in one day.
New Haven is a fairly easy 90 minute or so train ride from NYC. You can drive to New Haven via 95 or the Merritt but if you do not know your way around the city and the traffic it can be difficult. Do not stop going through the Bronx! You can also not drive from midtown NYC to New Haven in anywhere like 1 hour. Think an hour and a half even without traffic, without getting lost and without sane speed limits. Providence I think was also about an hour and half by car from New Haven. Think about another hour from Providence to Boston. All this of course depends on traffic.
How much time you need in Boston will depend on how many schools you want to visit there.
Amherst is I think about a 2 hour drive from Boston.
If you only have 5 to 6 days I do not think you can visit all the Universities you have listed unless you just wish to drive past them. A car with a nav system would be of big help. I suggest you either take a longer trip, or take two trips or toss out visits to some of your schools like Weslyan, Amherst and Vassar which require alot more time to visit.

lcuy Mar 15th, 2005 01:11 AM

Thanks everyone. I'm passing your advice on to Nancy.

She got very lucky yesterday and got FF tickets (for next week!) flying from Hnl into Philadelphia and back from Boston. That should make it a little easier, plus I think they may eliminate schools as they go along.

I don't know about you all, but way back when, I did my college research from those big old catalogs and went sight unseen off to live in my choice.

Ah the good old days.....

marmot Mar 15th, 2005 02:31 AM

lcuy, the first thing your friend should do is eliminate about half of the colleges on her daughter's list. Obviously these are very selective schools and stakes are high. She needs to slow down a bit in order to take the tours, go to the information sessions, maybe have her daughter interview. No way she can see 10 schools in 5-6 and keep her sanity.

The second thing she should do is take a look at the Parents Forum on College Confidential which is WEALTH of information for families and students who are applying to college, including those who live far away.

Thirdly, if the daughter is planning to apply next fall, she absolutely needs to find some "safety" school that are less selective than the ones on her list. Competition, even for top students, is very intense.

This is a stressful and bewildering experience.

Believe me I know.

lcuy Mar 16th, 2005 12:23 PM

Thanks. Actually, that is the whole point of this narrow down the list. As a junior, she's got about 30 schools on her list, by next fall when apps are due, she'll want to have less than ten. You can only get so much from web sites and talking to people. She wants to see what these campuses and the northeast "feel" like.

To keep this in the travel spirit, this trip will be like taking a bus tour thru europe. No one could ever "know" a country by driving thru, but you can certainly decide if you want to go back!

Anyway, I'm off on my own college tour in a few hours. By the time I get back, Nancy will be done and I'll make sure she writes a report.

BTW - anyone else see the $339 Portland, OR to Nagoya special on UAL? I have 10 days in Portland after my east coast trip...I'm taking my passport just in case I can talk someone into taking a short trip-within-a-trip with me!

Gpanda Mar 17th, 2005 03:51 AM

lcuy-If Nancy's daughter is seeking to get the "feel" of individual colleges, the proposed whirlwind tour is overly ambitious. If she likes one on first impression, she should take time to wander and hang out briefly in whatever passes for a student union. Nancy can grab a bench and read, while her daughter explores. I just did this with my Swedish niece 1 1/2 years ago. Patience is required. The whole visit thing seems over the top to me, but I applied to colleges (in the Dark Ages) without visiting a single one.

marmot Mar 17th, 2005 08:50 PM

If the student will have a second chance to visit his/her shortlist BEFORE s/he applies, then the whirlwind preview makes sense. If this is going to be the only visit until after the acceptances come in, then you're making a mistake.

The elite, super selective colleges like to see "demonstrated interest". This includes taking the tour, attending the info session, interviewing where available, and if at all possible, overnighting. If you live far away, organizing this kind of visit is complicated and requires a lot of research and planning, but is still really important.

Good luck and do take a look at the College Confidential boards. They are a godsend!

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