California: State College Tours

Students preparing for college will want to take this tour that focuses on some of the finest state supported universities in California.  These schools are well-known for specific areas of academics or sports, offer affordable in-state tuition and have a unique history. Many of California’s state-supported universities began as Normal Schools to train teachers for the Western expansion.  These were later absorbed into the state college system.

Students will have the opportunity to tour campus grounds and ask questions.  Universities are located within urban areas such as San Francisco and San Diego, and in suburban and coastal areas, such as San Jose, Stanford and Pasadena.

Here is a brief overview of each campus on this tour.


Based in the heart of Los Angeles, with almost 40,000 students, UCLA is a large urban campus that provides housing for approximately 9,000 students on the hill. Proximity to the movie and music industry makes UCLA a lively multicultural environment, ripe with professional opportunities and exposure to contemporary arts.   Students of the arts and sciences will not be disappointed.  From Nanotechnology to Egyptology to the School of Theater, Film and Television – UCLA has it all.  UCLA’s football team has always been a top contender and is well-supported by the campus community


University of Southern California is also based in inner city Los Angeles.  This university has a large international student population, complemented by study abroad programs. Out of 37,000 students, nearly 7,000 come from across the globe.  USC stakes its reputation on research and offers students internship opportunities.  The university is distinguished for its programs in the arts, technology and business.

University of California Berkeley (Cal)

University of California Berkley is affectionately known as “Cal.”  It sits on the San Francisco Bay in a particularly scenic campus setting.  The student population is nearly 36,000. Cal is mainly known for outstanding and notorious professors who helped reshape politics in the sixties. Cal emphasizes the liberal arts, as well as innovation.  Cal professors and students have played leading roles in contemporary advances in science and technology.

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Located in Pasadena, California, this well-known science and technology university has a relatively small student body with almost 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled.  There are almost 300 faculty, allowing for a close, interwoven campus community. CalTech’s astronomy program and observatory are known across the globe. CalTech’s professors have been Nobel Prize winners in the sciences.  The famous 200 inch Hale Telescope is housed at Paolomar, and it has been recognized as the Western Hemisphere’s most powerful telescope for over forty years.   The university is also known for geological studies, since two of its former professors, Harry Wood and John Anderson, invented the seismograph for measuring earthquakes, and Charles Richter invented the Richter Scale as a form of measurement of an earthquake’s intensity.


Located south of San Francisco, Stanford University is an outstanding institution.  With an emphasis on health, the environment and sustainability, international affairs and the arts and humanities, Stanford trains students for public service and research. Stanford University encourages engagement with society and sponsors study abroad programs and semesters in Washington D.C.  The university is named for Leland Stanford, who founded it in 1891 and used his fortune to finance its construction. His largesse was obtained by selling supplies to miners in the Gold Rush of 1849 and later – the transcontinental railroad.  The university spans 8,180 acres and has over 600 major buildings on a campus with plenty of native trees.  This sustainable campus is an environment that appeals to students. About 95% of undergrads live on campus and almost 60% of graduate students do as well. More than 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled at Stanford University each academic year.

San Diego State University

San Diego State is an inner city university ranking 20 in the U.S. in racial diversity.  Students are encouraged to study abroad and practice community service and sustainability.  Founded in 1897, San Diego State University now serves 35,000 students.  The university is known for its programs in education, international business, social work,  speech-language pathology, biology and public administration.  Many of the programs at this California state university are recognized as leaders in research on a variety of topics.  The campus is filled with contemporary features such as: a Performing Arts Plaza, an open-air theater, a Pedestrian Bridge connecting housing to campus, an Aquaplex and more.

San Jose State University

Located in the center of Silicone Valley in San Jose California, this state university is worth a look — especially for students who excel in technical or scientific fields.  Serving over 30,000 students, with 93% residents of California, this university has a population of over 17,000 minority students. Many of the students who attend San Jose State University are first in their family to receive a higher education.  Because of San Jose State’s proximity to the tech hub of Silicone Valley, students have the chance to perform research and conduct internships in professional high tech settings.  Distinguished programs include the arts and engineering.

San Francisco State University

With nearly 30,000 students and a rich history in arts, culture, and creativity, San Francisco State serves a diverse, rural population in one of the most desirable urban centers in the U.S.  Known mainly for innovations and distinction in service learning, liberal arts and international education, this university is an epicenter in the San Francisco region.  Called a “College With a Conscience” by the Princeton Review, students and faculty are immersed in movements for social change and service to society.  The campus is easily accessible by public transportation and has established bike friendly routes to campus.

The richness and diversity of California is reflected in its state universities.

Tuition at these universities is still affordable, compared to private colleges and universities. These state colleges attract professors with names in their respective fields and create collegial environments for students from diverse ethnic backgrounds.  Serious students will want to consider a tour of California state colleges for a wider perspective on choices for their higher education.

Request a quote for the CA state college tour or email

Following the Steps of History: A Student Trip to NYC, Washington D.C., Philadelphia & Gettysburg

For many students living faraway from the East Coast in other parts of the U.S., a student trip is often a once in a lifetime experience. Jason Fulton’s eight grade history students visit the East Coast each summer, departing from Azalea Middle School in Oregon. The educational objectives of the trip are to study the Revolutionary through the Civil War era.  Having his students explore the actual sites where this history took place is important to Fulton, “As we travel through time in the classroom, I focus on the many stops on our trip.  I want the students to understand the land before they walk on it,” commented Fulton.

Students Travel to Three Different States Discovering History

Fulton’s class trip occurs in the summer and includes a packed itinerary that takes students on a historical tour of three different states: New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.  The student trip is seven days and five nights and includes a look at some of the most famous historical sites in the East, including Gettysburg, PA, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in New York City, and Mount Vernon in Virginia. This is just a sampling of historical places. This ambitious tour encompasses even more sites.

Active Learning Through Living History in Gettysburg

One of the favorite destinations for students on this school trip was Gettysburg. Here they toured the famous battlefields where there were a massive number of soldiers killed in both the Union and Confederate ranks. Fulton scheduled a ghost tour of Gettysburg for the group. Fulton remarked, “Kids love to be scared!  They also liked to walk the streets of Gettysburg since it too was part of the battlefield.”  The ghosts of Gettysburg helped to ignite their interest in history. So did their meeting with Abraham Lincoln, a living history actor.  “President Lincoln was a kick because of all the knowledge the actor has about Lincoln and the war,” said Fulton.  He said both of these active learning experiences were a great way to assimilate information about the Civil War from different perspectives.

Highlights of Student Tour of Washington D.C. Area

From Gettysburg, students traveled south to the Washington D.C. area.  On the way they visited Antietam Battlefield, Harpers Ferry and Arlington National Cemetery.  During a visit to Mount Vernon the next day, the student group participated in a ceremony where they laid a wreath on George Washington’s grave. “This is a big part of our trip,” said Fulton.  “We have been doing this for many years.  The kids learn how special they are when they lay the wreath.  It is awe inspiring for them.”

Students learn about American History through books, film and the World Wide Web. Yet when they actually have the opportunity to reach out and touch a place where history occurred it seems somehow more memorable.  Making a trip to the East Coast from Oregon for nearly a week takes a commitment of time and resources.  Fulton’s eighth grade students fund their own trips. For many, this opportunity to follow the steps of the great figures of Early American history is desirable, and helps to widen their understanding of the formation of the United States.

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