Monday, March 2, 2009

College Choices

B and I are in the throes of choosing a college.

Just kidding! Kate is in the throes of choosing a college--even a college to which she just might send an application. It's a big, confusing maze.

So we did what every good set of helicopter parents would do, we bought college guides. One is called "The Insiders Guide to the Colleges" and the other is the "Fiske Guide to Colleges." Both are the 2009 editions.

Fiske is a little more technical, giving lots of statistics and information that parents probably want to know about the schools, like HOW MUCH THIS IS ACTUALLY GOING TO COST ME.

But "The Insider's Guide" was a hoot. I highly recommend this book if you have a high schooler. You'll get the "inside scoop" from real students, and whoo doggy, some of it is truly insider info. More than we parents would like to know, believe me.

Anyway, we read the entry for our alma mater (dubbed one of the places "Most Likely to Find Your Spouse"), and we found the information surprisingly accurate.

So we headed to some of the schools our daughter is checking out these days and found some very interesting information.

School Number 1, although academically rigorous, is also rigorous in other activities as well. The social scene is dominated by Greek life, and weeknights, as well as weekends, are often spent bar-hopping. But, the book also reassures us that, "Yet, despite the apparent prominence of alcohol and Greek life on campus, students insisted that those who prefer not to participate in either activity could still manage to find their own ways to have fun." Ah, sure.

Let's move on to School Number 2. This school is located in the South. We've all been kind of pulling for this one because, frankly, we'd all like to move. I mean, if Kate goes to school somewhere warm we'd all feel like we should come along. Just call us the Clampetts.

So the write-up on School Number 2 starts out great. It talks about how academically challenging the school is. In fact, many students "lament that if they had gone elsewhere they would have had higher GPAs." The student-teacher ratio is low, another plus.

The campus itself sounds like a paradise with beautiful gardens, lush meadows, and even a lake in the middle of campus. I can't wait to see it--we have a visit scheduled in a few weeks.

And then "The Insider's Guide" goes on to say this about School Number 2: "Students generally agree that random hook-ups are significantly more common than official dates . . . but despite all this arbitrary 'messing around,' students report that STDs are not rampant." Well now, that's a relief.

School Number 3? Well, apparently School Number 3 is too small (or too far out in the boondocks) to even make it into these books because there was no write-up in either book on School Number 3. Hmmmm.

School Number 4, then. Well, School number 4 happens to be, as we've been told, Kate's "backup" school. Did you even have a "backup" school when you were applying to college? I know I didn't. I was just happy to get accepted somewhere . . . anywhere. (Funny thing was that after I got accepted to my School Number 1, I changed my mind and started the search all over again. That's how I ended up at my alma mater.)

Now, I know that there is no perfect school, and college is what you make of it. Heck, I've been around college students for years--I should know that better than most parents. But now the professor hat comes off and the parent hat goes on, and some of this stuff is a little unsettling.

My daughter, bless her heart, has a great head on her shoulders. She is an amazing kid who makes me proud every single day. I have no worries about her--it's just everyone else out there I worry about. Will they be good to her? Will they see her as the wonderful, beautiful girl I know she is? I could drive myself crazy with the questions.

And so, the list continues to grow. Tonight Kate started reading up on a couple more possibilities. We may have to make a few cross-country trips to figure out if any of these schools are even application-worthy.

But first we'll check the books . . . if my heart can take it.


  1. Dear Mrs. Clampet, If Kate decides to go south, we may have to hitch a ride on your wagon and go visit her once in a while!

  2. ::hee hee:: Living in "Clampett Land" as I am. . .I'm dying of curiosity as to where this college with the lake is on the map.

    And more importantly. . . is it near enough to me for us to get together for coffee? (Inquiring minds, and all. . .)

  3. Oh my word, we will be in your shoes in just a couple of year and I know--KNOW--my heart cannot take it! For one thing, who can afford it?!? We've told our son hundreds of times he is to FOLLOW THE MONEY! :-)

  4. Lisa--tell me about it! Some schools we thought could be on her list a year ago are probably no longer going to be an option. If the emotional toll doesn't get you, the financial one certainly will!

    Angie--that school might have us passing through your neck of the woods, but it certainly isn't near enough to get together over coffee. :(