What Sold Me?

When I was in high school, I wasn’t all that interested in colleges.  I wanted to go to college, and I certainly thought college would be fun, but I never thought about the variety of colleges available to me, or their programs, or the differently sized populations, or what college would best prepare me for my future.

From the time I was in kindergarten, my dad worked at colleges. By the time I graduated from high school, he worked at one of the most prestigious colleges in the country. And by the time he retired, he had consulted at colleges all over the world.

I grew up on college campuses. To say that information about colleges was readily available to me would be a gross understatement.

But did I use that information? No. Not really. I cared very little about the things that really mattered.

For example, I remember getting a brochure in the mail – along with dozens, if not hundreds of other brochures – since that was how it was done back in “my day.” But this one really stood out to me. It was big and square and was shaped like a matchbook (because that’s also how it was done in “my day”) and each of the “matchsticks” represented a different aspect of college life at Capital University.

That’s how I decided that Capital University was the college for me! I was sure of it!

But it turned out that Capital University was in Columbus, Ohio – a full three hours from home. That sounded like a long drive, at the time. I was afraid I would get homesick and wouldn’t be able to get home if I needed a quick respite.

So I never even visited Capital University. But wow, that was one cool brochure.

I ended up at Mount Union University, also in Ohio. What sold me? Two major things: (1) They had a powder puff football team (on which I never played) and (2) Mount Union’s colors were purple and white.

I loved purple. Oh, and it was only two hours from home.

Today, my husband drives three hours every day during his commute.

And also today, I am looking at colleges worldwide … for my kids.

Dylan’s current top-runner is ten hours from home, and we’ve already visited. Shane wants to work on movies, so we may end up on the other side of the country during his college search. And we’ve already seen every college in the state that’s worth seeing – and some that aren’t – and in most of the neighboring states.

And I am loving it. I know more about colleges now than I ever did when I was a student. I know about their acceptance rates, program specialties, populations (by number, sex and racial diversity), professors, and mascots. Oh, and I know plenty about their music programs, student satisfaction rates, what the food is like on campus, and if there’s a lot of drug and/or alcohol use.

In fact, I know substantially more about some colleges that I’ve never even seen than I ever knew about my own college.

And Dylan knows almost nothing about colleges, even though he’s visited nearly a hundred campuses.

Nor does he care. If he were to get a really cool matchbook brochure from Capital University, he might not even open the envelope.

But I sure am having fun.

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