Campus Tour: Texas Pleasure Run – Saddle Up!
By Jenny Blackman ApplyWise
March 12, 2009
Take this campus tour on the Texas pleasure run--saddle up!
When in Texas, do as the Texans do. Eat BBQ, buy Lucasey boots, and listen to the country crooning of George Strait. Or don’t. Texas is a veritable melting pot of personalities. You can find anything from the largest rodeo in the country, The Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo, to one of the most comprehensive independent music scenes in the world, typified by Austin’s South by Southwest and Austin City Limits. In this behemoth of a state, you can also find a university to suit your specific needs and desires.
There’s no better place to begin your Texas trek than in Houston. Not only will you find Houston’s Rice University surrounded by some of the best food that side of the Mississippi, but you’ll also find some of the best professors in the country. One of the smallest research universities with a NCAA Division I athletics program, it is also among the most affordable private schools. At about $26,000 for tuition, room and board, Rice is half the price of its Ivy League peers. Stroll along the campus’ tree lined trails, but save a little energy for shopping at the Galleria, a luxurious and enormous mall sure to satisfy both the Stetson and Chanel lover in the family.
San Antonio, home of the Alamo, is a history buff’s heaven and also home to several prominent parochial colleges. Take a day to explore Catholic institutions like St. Mary’s University, Our Lady of the Lake and University of the Incarnate Word. Don’t forget about Trinity University, which holds the position as San Antonio’s premier protestant-affiliated school. A visit to San Antonio is not complete without a walk down the city’s famous River Walk. Although San Antonio is the nation’s 7th largest city, you and your family will appreciate how closely packed the restaurants and shops are.
But if city life doesn’t appeal to you, try College Station, a quintessential college town that consists only of Texas A & M University. Named by Money Magazine as the most educated city in Texas, A & M is one of two Land-, Sea- and Space-Grant institutions. College Station is truly a college town that defines campus pride. If you are in town, take an opportunity to soak up school spirit by watching the Aggies compete in 20 varsity sports, or take part in their many campus traditions such as Maroon Out and The Big Event.
Your road trip ends in Austin, the state capital and home to the University of Texas. But don’t let the size (Texas’s or UT’s) intimidate you. Austin has something for everyone, so take your time. Vintage shop on Guadalupe Street, watch Longhorn football in Memorial Stadium (if you can get a ticket) or lounge at the Barton Springs Pool—a natural spring that averages 68 degrees throughout the year. You might even be lucky enough to see the endangered Barton Salamander. Come dusk, head over to the Congress Avenue Bridge where you’ll witness the world’s largest urban bat colony take flight. In the evening, downtown’s 6th Street explodes with laughter and loud music; a waltz up 6th Street is enough to convince even skeptics of Austin’s title as The Live Music Capital of the World. For a more relaxed evening, catch a late night movie—Austin is also known as a go-to location for independent films.
Be warned, Texas’ spirit is contagious. Not only will you want to go to college in the Lone Star State but you may never want to leave—even after graduation.
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