Wednesday, July 12, 2017

College Tours, from the Other Side

This one is a shameless cry for help.

The Boy will start his junior year of high school this Fall.  He’s thinking about colleges.  He wants to be pre-med, and he wants a biggish or huge school at least a few hours from central Jersey.  (“I want to avoid the drop-in,” as he puts it.)  He has come up with a few frontrunners, though we both fully expect his list to change.

We’re thinking about doing first visits to a few of the early contenders this summer.  I’m thinking a smallish number of early visits will accomplish several things:

  • He’d get a three-dimensional image of each place, along with a feel for its vibe.  Colleges that look similar on paper can feel very different in person.  Starting early enough that it’s still low-pressure may allow for that.

  • The whole enterprise might start to feel a bit more real.  Some of the places he has named are relatively selective; if he really likes them, that can provide some useful motivation when the winter blahs set in.

  • At this point, an excuse for some quality father/son time over a long weekend is a very good thing.  He only has a couple more years in the house full-time.  And for whatever reason, some of our best conversations occur when we’re looking at the inside of a windshield.

All of that said, he’s the oldest, and I haven’t been on college tours since I was in high school.  I imagine it’s a very different experience as a parent.  It can’t not be.  

Wise and worldly readers, I’m guessing that many of you have done the college tour as a parent.  Having been through it from this side, do you have any suggestions for what I should do?  Should I go on the tours with him, or leave him alone on them?  What did you find helpful?