Do you remember when you were in high school, and you were just starting to figure out your future? You’d probably taken the SATs and started weighing what was important to you in a college – large vs. small; close to home vs. farther away; party school vs. well, not. And you most likely went on several campus tours, in an effort to get the full effect of the school and make an informed decision.
For me, all that was junior year. Mama and I went on a road trip during my spring break and visited four different schools throughout Virginia, D.C. and Maryland. We had a variety of experiences, ranging from an over zealous tour guide to an administration with an inflated ego to a group of bikers who thought it would be fun to zoom around and cut in front of the little blonde girl driving down I-95. That was super fun.
But it was all totally worth it, because, when I walked onto the campus of my now alma mater, I knew that was where I wanted to go. I don’t always trust my gut, but I’m so glad I did then.
Tonight, I’m having dinner with some family friends, whose daughter is going through similar situations right now. She’s actually visiting all the same schools that I did (plus a few more) and I can only hope that her experiences are just as positive (or interesting – or both). I think I’ve been recruited for dinner, partly to talk to her about the schools, and to get her more excited about going.
And, of course, to offer her these pearls of wisdom:
1) Do not judge the entire college based on your tour guide – even though it will be sorely tempting. Nine times out of ten they are NOT representative of the student body at large. Of course, there are always exceptions.
2) Despite what they say, and what specials are offered when you visit, cafeteria food will undoubtedly get old after a while. And you will eventually buy Ramen or EasyMac (or both) and keep snacks in your room for when you just can’t handle the dining hall anymore. Just embrace it.
3) Make sure you like the school colors/logo/mascot. Perhaps not the most important element, but important, nonetheless. Not only will you be rocking the college gear, but your parents will stock up on magnets, car decals, hats, clothing and possibly even a flag for the front yard. (No? Just my parents? All right, then…)
That’s all I have for now, but, please, help me out here. What did you wish you knew before (or during) any college visits?
Gotta get this girl prepared.