Once upon a time, college applicants would have to trek to the library, or go the high school guidance office, or would have to write to a school to send a brochure. Today the internet brings all these campuses to the home computer. There are many excellent on-line college directories. College and University Home Pages is a web site which has homepages of colleges worldwide. There are valuable links to specialty and vocational schools from fields ranging from healthcare, to truck driving, to welding.
In 1636 Harvard College (see Harvard University) in Cambridge, with one professor and nine students, was chartered by the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Two years later the school was named for the Minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who left his library and much of his estate to the college upon his death. This was the genesis of Boston emerging as a world leading center of higher education. Today, the name Harvard is an icon. The legacy of Harvard graduates includes seven American Presidents, and world renowned notables in law and business, science and medicine, engineering and the arts, to name a few.
Almost as legendary as Harvard itself, is its home, Harvard Square. This urban, historical, neighborhood is at the center of university life in Boston. The square is filled with an array of ethnic restaurants, coffee houses, museums, and theaters. As you walk along Mass. Ave and the other streets, the square is alive with street performers, unique shops, and a steady flow of diverse pedestrians drawn to the square for reasons of their own.
A couple of miles from Harvard Square, eastbound along Massachusetts Avenue, is the campus of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Opened in 1865 the mission for the new institute was, "To establish a new kind of independent educational institution relevant to an increasingly industrialized America. Rogers (MIT's first president William Barton Rogers) stressed the pragmatic and practicable. He believed that professional competence is best fostered by coupling teaching and research and by focusing attention on real-world problems." MIT has played a major role in engineering and technology development for the government the private sector. A 1994 study reported that MIT graduates founded more 4,000 firms providing products and services, while employing more than a million people. Through 2002, 56 graduates and faculty members of MIT had been awarded Nobel Prizes.
Six miles from downtown Boston in Chestnut Hill, is the Gothic-style campus of Boston College. The school's name is somewhat of a misnomer as BC is in fact a University with more than 13,000 undergraduates studying 50 fields in its 11 schools. Founded in 1863, Boston College is one of the country's oldest Jesuit schools. The Jesuits have maintained a major role in every department, however BC has developed as a muti-ethnic, diverse university open to all faiths. BC has New England's only major Division 1 athletic program, achieving national prominence in football, basketball, and hockey, while successfully maintaining high academic standards for student athletes.
If you leave the BC campus and travel 'inbound' (by car of the MBTA) along Commonwealth Avenue toward the Back Bay, you soon will find yourself amidst the fourth largest independent university in America, Boston University. For the more than 30,000 students from all 50 states and 135 countries, the BU experience is more than academics. The urban setting enables students to enjoy the benefits of the city. Downtown theaters, shopping, the financial district, and Fenway Park are all a walk or a subway ride away. On a spring day you will find BU students boating, jogging, or sunning along the Charles River.
After your visit to BU, jump on the Green Line E Train at Kenmore Square and take a ride down Huntington Avenue to the campus of Northeastern University. Like BU, Northeastern students benefit from the experience of college in Boston while learning at a beautiful urban campus. The NU campus houses many of the finest research facilities in the city, and has the largest academic library in Boston. The campus is also situated in area known as the Cultural District, between The Museum of Fine Arts, and Symphony Hall. Northeastern is a pioneer in cooperative education with the worlds largest program. The practical experience from 'co-op' gives the NU grad an advantage for preparing for the workplace after college.
For many, a career training school is a more pragmatic path than a traditional college, for preparing for life in the real world. These schools offer practical training for a specific jobs or trades and provide aid for job placement. Vocational Colleges often require less time to complete because students are not required to take many of the general ed. courses required of a college curriculum. Search4careercolleges.com covers a wide range of topics from housing, financial aid, SAT and GED preparation, as well as notices of job fairs and related articles.
Mass Mentor is a free service for students and parents searching for the right school in Massachusetts. There are links for other essentials a student will need to prepare for going to college in Boston. An article "Thirteen Tips on Selecting the Right School in Boston" found on About.com is another source for prospective students. A resource for out-of-towners planning to visit schools in the Boston area is Campus Visit / Boston. This site has information for visitors to make the best use of their time in the city, and for finding convenient accommodations for their stay.
Boston is truly a special place to go to college. The major area schools cited above represent a small percentage of the academic community. Whichever school you attend, you are part of a bigger community of people from around the world converging to the nations leading center of research, and study. An illustrious roster of eminent leaders in politics, medicine, literature, and the performing arts, spent their formative years in the classrooms, labs, and studios in Boston, "America's College Town."