Between lacrosse showcases, practices and tournaments, what better way to fill time than by taking college tours with a bellyaching rising high school junior? The mileage between schools, the lackluster lodging, fattening mediocre food consisting of blooming onions, pizza and burgers, the perky tour guides combined with the running diatribe from said critical junior all amount to a tedious trip over a short period of time.
Each college and university evokes a theme: rural, suburban, large, small, nerdy, wholesome, green, preppy, athletic… The visitation experience for parents is far different than that of the student and the chaperone should remember that his or her return to college is not imminent! Additionally, admission’s officers must impress potential applicants once the entrance to the institution’s threshold is crossed. First impressions are everything… Cranky woman in admissions in Rhode Island (not a student to be found, no tours available and a lying lacrosse coach), scratch; wholesome coed in shorts wearing a smile in Vermont, check; video filled only with educational information presented by Dexters and no extra curricula (also Vermont), scratch; charming Maine pre-med lacrosse player with the five o’clock shadow (at 10 am) in New York offering to exchange information with grumpy junior, check.
Parents, chaperones and siblings touring with sleep deprived teens must learn to “button up.” Shut up, head to the rear of the tour group and lay-low. Students should be asking questions not parents. Put your note pads and preconceived notions away. Use your ears, not your mouths and listen to your kids.
To quote the critical junior, “I’ve already been to Harvard… besides their athletic facilities are sub-par at best.” Good thing there is a lid for every pot when finding an appropriate academic institution.