This is the final part (V) of Libby's college planning series, "A Mother's Perspective". You can see her first post here, second here, third here, and fourth here.
A year after a snowstorm changed our plans, my younger daughter and I were headed off to visit one of her top prospects. Of the eight schools where she applied, she had only visited half. At this point, her top three schools included two she hadn’t visited and the one that she wouldn’t have a decision from until April. That last school of course was the one with the amazing education program that was the yardstick by which all others were measured.
Earlier that day she had gone to accepted students day at one of the schools close to home. That one, the earliest contender, was quickly crossed off the list. It just wasn’t the right fit. What a difference a year makes.
So here we were, nearly a thousand miles from home, on a suburban college campus early in the morning. And yet I knew, from the moment I met her freshman host, that this place was going to be a hit. Off she went to a day of classes, grinning from ear to ear. Fortunately I had emailed the admissions department the day before requesting that I be allowed to tag along on their “full or unavailable” tour later that afternoon. I had been reassured that would be no problem.
First hit: turns out there really wasn’t a tour, but they made one anyway. I never felt like I was imposing or inconveniencing anyone. There were just three of us – me and a dad with his high school junior son – and yet they gave us the video presentation, info session and tour.
Second hit: their video presentation was very impressive. At this point I’ve seen a lot of these, but this one stood out. I started getting a little emotional because I could tell that my daughter was probably going to be (almost) a thousand miles away come fall.
Third hit: I spent half an hour one-on-one with an admissions person. Since “the dad and his high school junior son” had a connection with the school, I was asked if I minded if they “did things a little differently.” Which meant I got to speak directly with someone really knowledgeable, for a long time. It was a great conversation and left me feeling good about where I was now pretty sure she’d be in six months. And this is all before the tour.
Grand slam: “Mom, I want to go here.” The first words out of her mouth when we met up after eight hours. Of course I’d already told her older sister that this was going to be the school, but it helps that she made up her mind for herself.
The program was right, the people were right, the campus was perfect, the city was right. Everything clicked. We canceled the remaining college visit. All before the end of February.
As for the early frontrunner? Too big, too urban. No need to wait. Before she had their decision, she was already oriented, enrolled and had a roommate.
So a second college search ended successfully.
Thank goodness child number three is only a sophomore. Then again, that means it’s time to start looking again.