Wednesday, August 15, 2012
First College Visit
I thought people might like to hear about college visits. (BTW, our son is a rising junior.) Perhaps others would like to add their experiences. We stopped at Oberlin on the way back from Interlochen to see their music conservatory. A tour of the college is a separate tour. You can apply to either or both. You can be accepted to the conservatory but not the college. Only about 20 percent of the total 2800 students are in the conservatory, and of those, maybe 25 percent are doing dual degrees - in both sides. Oberlin is very comfortable. You can see everything in about a half-hour of driving around. The college tours take longer. There really is only one hotel (so-so) in town. After about 10 blocks in any direction, the curbs stop and the farms take over. It's a small school lovers dream. The best part of the college is the complete focus on undergraduates. The downside is that maybe it's a little bit too insular. What feels initially comfortable might end up feeling quite different later on. Then again, it was summer and the place was dead. Also, some non-music students like the idea of going to a college with a conservatory attached. My niece is one of those, and she also went to look at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. My brother-in-law really liked Lawrence. My niece liked Oberlin, but chose the College of Wooster. I think that a little snootiness slips out at times. My niece gave one example about Oberlin, and at a college fair, my son said the recruiter talked to him like a child. However, our tour host (student) was very nice. That variation is probably normal, but my brother-in-law talked about the Oberlin aura that exists in the midwest. We're from New England and Boston casts a bigger influence. I don't think my son sees himself in the very flat middle of farmland. We also did a drive by of Yale. We did their on-line virtual tour, but not the real tour. Our son liked their use of separate colleges and could see himself there, but what are the details? We don't know yet. It seems that one can make very little of any college. The question is what opportunities do you have if you try? How much do you have to compete for those opportunities?