Syracuse, SUNY ESF, LeMoyne College

I had the pleasure of visiting Syracuse, NY this summer and made it to 3 campuses (I cheated a little, Syracuse University and ESF are separated by a sign).  I want to share a little about each school.  The city of Syracuse is a smaller city (around 150,000 population) in Central New York.  There are theaters, art museums, and festivals that bring a host of cultural experiences to the city.  The sports scene definitely centers around Syracuse University though the Syracuse Mets are a minor league baseball team in town (that feeds the NY Mets).  There are also some beautiful parks and hidden trails within the city that allow you to enjoy some space away from the hustle and bustle.  If you like snow in the winter, this the place for you!
*If you are a veteran please read the additional information at the bottom of the page.

Syracuse University:

Syracuse University BuildingSyracuse University is a beautiful campus set in the middle of the city of Syracuse.  It has a campus feel but merges into the community on the edges of campus.  Syracuse is known for Newhouse and the Maxwell School.  Newhouse School is home to Syracuse University’s renowned journalism program.  96% of Newhouse graduates are in a position related to their career goals.  The Maxwell School is home to the social sciences, public policy, public administration, and international relations programs. Syracuse also has a very strong architecture program.    In addition there is a strong Visual and Performing Arts School (and I recommend eating at Phoebe’s before catching a performance at Syracuse Stage).


SUNY (State University of New York) ESF (College of Environmental Science and Forestry) is uniquely situated abutting Syracuse University. ESF is a small SUNY college with about 1,800 undergraduate students and has it’s own contained campus but is allowed to use most Syracuse University facilities and take part in the extracurricular activities on both campuses.  ESF specializes in the understanding, conservation, and management in natural resources.  The school has several facilities that they operate in NY (including in Adirondack Park and the Thousand Islands) and Costa Rica.

LeMoyne College:

LeMoyne PlazaLeMoyne is a small Jesuit college with a strong liberal arts program that is on the on the edge of Syracuse, NY and DeWitt, NY.  It is a little bit more suburban in feel though right down the street is Erie Boulevard that has all the stores and restaurants you would need. There are about 2,800 undergraduate students.  LeMoyne is a fairly self-contained campus with residential neighborhoods surrounding it.  LeMoyne is known for their full liberal arts curriculum that is a part of any major you choose, their science, social science, nursing, business and education programs are highly regarded.  The LeMoyne Madden School of Business also has both undergraduate programs and an MBA program.


Syracuse and LeMoyne are both Yellow Ribbon schools meaning that the institute of higher learning and the VA work together to help bridge the gap between the amount the GI Bill covers and the cost of the school.  This is especially helpful at private colleges and universities as their tuition tends to be higher.

LeMoyne was named 7th on the US News and World Report Best Colleges for Veterans.  You can find more information on their Veterans programs on their website.

Syracuse was named 4th Best School for Veterans by the Military Times. They have instituted programs to help transition veterans and all military spouses across the country to get the support they need to further their education and reach their career goals.  IVMF is a great place to start for veterans and their families looking to further their education.

Getting Around Atlanta Schools

Recently we were able to visit some colleges in Atlanta.  There are 23 colleges and universities in Atlanta so learning how to get around Atlanta was a fun adventure.  We flew into Atlanta and did not have a car so we decided to try all the different ways of getting around the city.

Huge Escalator from MARTAFirst stop was the MARTA (click to see maps and schedules).  This was very easy to use, the map wasn’t hard to read.  The easiest part was that the airport is last stop so both the red and yellow lines go in the same direction and to the same stations for several stops.  It is also incredibly inexpensive: $2.50 each trip including up to 4 transfers. I had no problems with the MARTA except that it was closed on Sunday.  According to the website this isn’t normal, but it was the situation while we were there.  We found that if you wanted to go somewhere that the MARTA went to it was great, but it does not cover the entire city.  I did not get a picture of the train but here is the very long elevator leaving the station closest to our hotel.

College exploration on scooterWhile touring Georgia Tech I decided to take a break from walking and try out the electric scooters!  These scooters littered the streets of Atlanta.  In order to use one you need to download the app, attach payment and scan the scooter.  It took me a few minutes to set it up, but it wasn’t bad.  Once it’s set up it’s very quick, so subsequent trips are easy.  The rules are that you need to wear a helmet, go in bike lanes when available, and park it safely (the app gives you clear guidelines).  I can tell you that these rules are often not followed, but I am reporting what the app tells you.  The scooter really moves.  I was impressed with the speed and the amount of control that I had while driving.  Stoppping needs a little extra time so make sure you give yourself that.  After a bit of experimenting I moved on and enjoyed the gorgeous campus.

In addition we did a LOT of walking.  The city is very walkable with decent sidewalks and crosswalks.  I enjoyed seeing the city as I walked.  There were also a lot of bike lanes, and it wasn’t unusual to see bikers out and about.

On Sunday we didn’t have the ability to take the MARTA because it was closed so we used Uber to get to the airport. Living near DC I’ve used Uber often before, but it was good to see that there were several cars running when we were ready to go to the airport. Lyft is also readily available in Atlanta.

It was a great trip and fun to explore Atlanta and some of the different Universities and colleges in the area.

Class of 2020!

Ready, set, action!!!
Hi there Class of 2020!  Are you ready for the final push to get ready for college?  It’s almost application time.  During the summer is a great time to get a jump start on your applications, especially those essay prompts!

The Common Application has their essay prompts here.  Over 800 schools in the US take the common app including all 8 Ivy Schools (these schools also have supplemental essay prompts that aren’t released for this year yet) and many VA universities.  The University of Virginia uses the common app but also has 2 half page essays specifically for UVA, one is specific to the college you are applying to within the University. UVA also accepts the Coalition Application (see below).  George Mason uses the Common App unless you are interested in their Korea program or are only applying to George Mason, then you can use their exclusive application.  More information is available here.

The Coalition Application essay prompts can be found here. The Coalition Application is used by 140 colleges and universities including The College of William and Mary (who also accepts the common app) and Virginia Tech.

The Universal Application is the third option.  This is accepted at fewer colleges but if the college(s) you are applying to accepts it as an option you may want to compare the applications and see if there is a format that is more comfortable for you.  The essay prompts for the Universal Application can be found here.

Summer is a great time to start brainstorming and writing some rough drafts of those college essays!  This is your opportunity to tell the colleges who you are and how you have been able to learn and grow through your unique experiences!