Thoughts While Visiting Colleges With My Kid, part II
March 14, 2012
In no particular order….
I wish I could go to college again. In part I mean this facetiously. I mean it would be great to study all day, to have a time in my life (again) when I could make my studies and my social life my primary concerns 24/7/365. But I also mean it more seriously. I think that when I attended college, I was too young to make good use of the resources at my disposal. I made unwise choices, I allowed myself to take the easy way out too often, I didn’t apply myself the way I should have. I’d like another chance to get it right.
There is no way in hell I could get into my alma mater today. None. Zip. It is so much harder for kids who are applying today than it was when I was a teen. And at the time my generation was being told that it had never been harder to get in to schools. I guess it just gets more and more competitive.
College is really, really expensive.
Colleges have decided that certain things are really important from a marketing point of view, and so they all emphasize similar points in their tours and information sessions. “Faculty accessibility — faculty are ‘there’ for undergrads.” “Small classes and low student to faculty ratio.” “Campus safety — real police rather than ‘rent-a-cops’.” “Study abroad programs that don’t add to college expenses (which are high enough — see comment #3).” “A broad spectrum of student organizations that allow students to do pretty much anything and everything they can think of.” “Need blind admissions and financial aid that covers 100% of established need.” “Lots of meal plans and ‘flex dollars’ that work at a variety of food establishments on campus.” And more. None of these things are bad; in fact all of them have the potential to be really good. But the fact is, lots of schools seem to have them, and most of these schools present them as something special that only _____ University has.
We had seen a few schools before this trip. We’ve seen three schools in the last three days (with seven more to go in the next week). And so far, in order of preference, we seem to have the following: University of Virginia, University of Richmond, College of William and Mary.
More as the week goes on.