Alfred, NY: Arriving in this small town in the midst of a rainstorm, my spirits were somber because of the weather and the seven-hour drive from Connecticut. After a few hours of touring with a student and talking, however, the rain pouring down on me and the inch-deep puddles seemed rather unimportant. After my second visit in February, during a huge snowstorm, my spirits grew despite the cruel weather. My heart began to race thinking of the prospects of going there. I had fallen in love with Alfred University.
Although I was a complete stranger to the college, I walked alone from building to building, peering through the doors at students studying in the library, watching Star Trek in their dorms and blowing glass in Harder Hall. Not for one moment did I feel alien to the school, for every student smiled, many said hello and one even kindly walked me to my destination when I looked a bit lost. From eating in the dining hall to wandering through the campus streets, I knew that I could be myself there.
I have been accepted to the art school at Alfred University. The two times I visited I naturally spent most of my time in the art center, Harder Hall. In touring the whole campus, I could walk from one end to the other (from the soccer field to the campus hotel, the Saxon Inn) in about 15 minutes. In one single trip across campus, I stopped here and there and talked to a teacher, checked out the new campus center and was distracted by a student loading one of the kilns. The student population is about 1,700 and incredibly diverse. And from only a taste of the real thing, I believe there to be a great variety of teachers and ideas.
Choosing a college is completely personal and finding one that fits like your favorite old T-shirt is difficult, but there is one out there for you. Statistics are important, but I believe the inner spirit of the institution has to fit your inner spirit. Visitation is what really makes the difference. You need to feel comfortable with yourself if you are going to be there. Try it on for size and let your heart race. If it is the darkest of days, and you still see the campus glowing with warmth, you’ll know it’s for you. f
Review by C. P., Collinsville, CT
Reviewed in 1994