As soon as I launched my first child off to college, it was time to start the college search for my younger daughter. This time I knew to start earlier, yet it was still incredibly challenging to find time for visits around school, activities and everything else.
I was rather excited when my younger daughter scheduled her first college visit for the end of February vacation -- just the two of us on a daylong jaunt to a university that seemed like a leading candidate given her intended areas of study. Fortunately, I checked the weather the night before, mostly to figure how to dress for the campus tour. Unfortunately, our destination four hours to the north was under a winter weather advisory with eight inches of snow expected.
Not wanting to waste the rare weekday for college visits, we quickly searched for schools to the south of us. Recognizing that our main goal was to get her onto a college campus and get the process started, we settled on two schools in another state less than two hours away. Our expectations were fairly low since that state hadn’t been one she was considering and neither school had been on any of our lists up to that point.
The first school – a state university – served its purpose. My daughter could now imagine herself going to college. The school itself could be a decent backup, but was unlikely to make her short list.
The second school, on the other hand, clicked. Whether it was their impressive marketing materials or the admissions person who set the right tone or the tour guides we had that day, everything felt just right. This school now led the list of where she would apply in the fall.